Jim Haggart

Jim Haggart, age 94 of Bison, S.D. passed away suddenly on Thursday evening, March 6, 2014 at the Rapid City Regional Hospital as the result of a heart attack.Posted March 10, 2014

Jim Haggart
Jim Haggart

Jim Haggart, age 94 of Bison, S.D. passed away suddenly on Thursday evening, March 6, 2014 at the Rapid City Regional Hospital as the result of a heart attack.

The Memorial Service for Jim will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at the American Lutheran Church in Bison with Pastor Dana Lockhart officiating. Burial will be in the Bison Cemetery with full military honors afforded by the Rogers-Smith American Legion Post #255 of Bison, S.D.

All World War II Veterans and Jim’s Friends are considered Honorary Bearers.

James Erwin Haggart “Jim” to his many friends was born Feb. 25, 1920 on the Haggart homestead southwest of Date, S.D. to Reuben and Ida (Obst) Haggart. He attended Highland School in Perkins County and Bison High School for three years. Jim graduated from Lemmon High School in 1939.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army on Oct. 25, 1941 and served at Dutch Harbor in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. While there, he laid unsubstantiated claim to shooting down a Japanese Zero aircraft. After one year in Alaska, Jim was commissioned into the U.S. Army Air Corp and entered Pilot Training. He continued to serve his country as a Lieutenant until being honorably discharged on October 26, 1945 as a P51 Mustang Pilot. He later reached the rank of Major in the Air Force Reserves.

Jim returned to Bison where he ranched for a short time and then moved to Bison and started Jim’s Motors, selling Kaiser-Frazer automobiles and doing mechanic work. In 1947, he began farming near Prairie City for Ted Beckman and over the years continued expanding his own farming and ranching business.

In 1948, he started aerial crop spraying with his good friend Gail Coe. After a year, he continued spraying under Jim’s Spraying Service later naming it Haggart’s Aerial Spraying Service.

In later years, he worked with his son Terry operating the business for 65 years, until 2013. He continued to spray crops into his 70s. Jim flew more than 50 different kinds of aircraft in his lifetime. He flew many mercy flights of ill people to hospitals, medicine, mail and food to stranded weather victims. He also located electrical outages for Grand Electric and livestock for area ranchers.

Jim was a member of the Bison Town Board and served as its President. He was a member of the Flying Farmers, West River Telephone Board, Masons, Elks Lodge, and a lifetime member of the Bison American Legion Post. He was inducted into the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005. Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing and dancing in his early years and trapshooting and checking cattle in his later years. After retirement, he became a fan of the Atlanta Braves.

Surviving family members include his wife, Esther, Bison, S.D.; one son and daughter-in-law, Terry and Mary Haggart, Bison, S.D.; one daughter, Mary Jane Haggart, Rapid City, S.D.; two stepsons Rodger (Mary Lou) Wells, Clearwater, Fla.; Lonnie (Cheryl) Wells, Lincoln, Neb.; one step-daughter-in-law Cheryl (Bob) Majeski, Hiawatha, Kan.; two step-daughters, Cheryl (Bob) Shinabarger, Spearfish, S.D., and Julie Wells, Rapid City, S.D., four grandchildren, 13 step grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren; one brother, Wilbur (Beverly) Haggart, Bison, S.D.; and two sisters, Ruby (Herman) VanDenBerg, Prairie City, S.D.; and Marjorie Warner, Loudon, Tenn.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Mary in 1978, two sisters, Shirley Haggart and Dorothy Schreffler, and one brother Marlin Haggart, and a step-son Randy Wells.

A memorial has been established.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.evansonjensenfuneralhome.com