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James Edward Greenhorn, Jr.

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

James Edward Greenhorn, Jr., 89, passed away at Bishop Drumm in Johnston on Saturday, October 28, 2023.

A celebration of Jim’s amazing life will be held on Thursday, November 2nd at 2 pm at the Merle Hay Chapel, 4400 Merle Hay Rd Des Moines with visitation from noon until service time. There will also be a Masonic Service following the celebration of life. Go here to view the livestream:

Jim was born in Akron, Ohio on June 14, 1934, the son of James E Sr. and Florence M. (Sheets) Greenhorn. The family relocated to Des Moines, Iowa in 1946. Jim graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1952. He attended Drake University, University of Akron, (Akron, Ohio) and DMACC and served in the Army Reserves 1951-1955.

Jim married the love of his life, Sherry Ann (Elwood) and he started his career at Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. as a Laboratory Tech. He retired in 1986 after 34 years of service and as a Senior Chemical Engineer.

He served in various technical and managerial positions, including Chief Chemist in the International Division in Central America at the factory in San Jose, Costa Rica. This position included frequent tours and adventures throughout Central America working with processors of natural rubber and retread companies as well as Firestone outlets. On taking early retirement, he and his wife owned and operated a small business prior to complete retirement in 1995, after suffering a major stroke.

Jim was a charter member and Past President of the Midwestern Rubber & Plastics Group, Inc., a 50-year member of Acanthus Masonic Lodge #632, York Rite Bodies and of Za-Ga-Zig Shrine, where he was Potentate in 1996, hospital organizations and past membership in the Order of Quetzelcoatl, Jesters, and Scottish Rite. Jim and Sherry worked together at the Iowa State Fair with the Shrine Golf Cart program to assist in raising funds to help the Shrine Hospitals. Jim firmly believed in the Shrine Hospital program assisting children that required medical attention and could be helped without cost to the patient on their family. Jim’s passion led him to be a Hospital Dad to Hope, which led to his motto, “Hope for tomorrow.” Jim was also very involved with the Stroke Club, which is attended and sponsored by many therapists, primarily from Younkers Rehabilitation Center. He and Sherry mentored others as they adjusted to life after a stroke.

Jim loved his family immensely and is survived by his wife of 71 years, Sherry; hard working sons, Michael (Cyd) and Steven (Susan); and his wonderful daughter, Toni (Erik) Swee along with five beautiful granddaughters, Katie (Cam) Rettig, Amanda (Mo) Rabah, Rebekkah (Richard) and Elizabeth (Cory), and Bianca Patterson; one amazing grandson, Nathan Patterson; three precious great-granddaughters, Riley, Reagan, and Isla; two amazing great-grandsons, Reuben and Rhett; brother-in-law, Herb Deppe; along with many nieces, nephews, cousins, and wonderful friends. He was looking forward to being a great-grandfather again in the coming months.

He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Florence Greenhorn; his sister, Georgia and brother-in-law, Robert Morey; his sister-in-law, Karen Deppe; and several nieces and nephews; along with his in-laws, George and Sally Elwood; and brothers-in-law, George Jr. and Kenny Wigg.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital via Za-Ga-Zig Center.


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