James Ralph Erkman, 95, resident of Eldorado passed away Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at his residence. Jim was born February 15, 1925 in Eldorado to the late Everett and Della (Fuller) Erkman. Jim was an Army Veteran serving in a heavy mortar company attached to the 3rd Army division in Sicily, Italy and was in the first wave of troops in the invasion of Southern France. When the war ended he transferred to the supreme headquarters in Paris, France and Frankfurt, Germany until his discharge in January of 1946. When he returned home he resumed working as a ticket agent with the New York Central Railroad. Jim was the Quartermaster of the Eldorado VFW in 1948 when the VFW building was constructed, he was the last survivor who’s name appears on the building's cornerstone. In 1950 he moved to Dubuque, IA with the Illinois Central Railroad as Chief Clerk in charge of waybill auditing. While in Dubuque he served as Lieutenant with the Civil Air Patrol. In 1956 he transferred to the Illinois Central main accounting office in Chicago as Bureau Chief in charge of receipts and disbursements until he retired from the railroad in 1965. He attended Mississippi Southern and Northwestern University. While living in Chicago he was very active in politics, serving as Cook County Co-Chairmen of the Goldwater for President Campaign and as Rich Township Auditor. He was elected president of the Cook County Township Auditors Association in 1966. In 1968 he moved to California where he was an auto dealer for 20 years. After he retired he spent his time traveling and playing golf with his many friends all over the country. Jim is survived by a son: David (Kim) Erkman of California, two daughters: Emily Carlson of California, Susan Erkman of New Mexico, grandchildren: Kerith Erkman, David James Erkman, Joy Erkman, Bradley (Jill) Carlson, Benjamin (Shauna) Carlson, Colby (Ariel) Carlson, Erin Carlson, Allen Erkman, five great grandchildren: Addison, Caleb, Aiden, Liam and Hayes and a special cousin: Dixie Long of Eldorado. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his Ex-wife: Jane (Mitchell) Erkman, a son: James R. Erkman, II, a brother: J.W. Erkman, a sister: Verneta Taylor and a grandson: Steven Erkman. Funeral services will be at 1:00 pm Saturday, September 19, 2020 at Colonial Terrace Funeral Home in Eldorado with Rev. Russell Helton officiating. Visitation will be 10:00 am to service time. Burial will be in Wolf Creek Cemetery with Military Rites. In addition to flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Eldorado VFW Honor Guard fund to help with honors equipment. Donations will be accepted at the funeral home. Condolences and expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family via the website www.colonialterracefuneralhome.com
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