Jim passed away on August 21, 2019 in Las Cruces, New Mexico at the age of 71 after an extended illness.
Jim was born in Honolulu, Hawaii as the son of Richard and June Cheney on September 6, 1947. His father was a pilot in the US Navy, and they traveled extensively throughout the US from the west to east coast. After his father retired from the US Navy, the family moved to Taylorville Illinois, close to his parents’ hometown of Pana Illinois. Jim graduated from Taylorville High School in 1965 and from Eastern Illinois University in 1970.
After college Jim worked for a short time as a social worker in Jacksonville, Ill. before moving west to Colorado and Arizona. He met the love of his life, Rebecca Kroll in Santa Fe, New Mexico while running his own auto garage, Blue Sky. They lived together in Urbana, Ill. in the 1980’s while he worked as a technician on water standards for the Water Treatment Plant and she worked as a nurse at Carle Hospital. They decided to move back west to Las Cruces in 1991, and Jim worked for several years as a technician for the Johnson Space Center, a NASA affiliate. Jim and Rebecca were married in 1996.
Jim was highly skilled in the sciences and had terrific mechanical abilities. Whenever anything needed fixing, his friends and family would say, “Fix it Jim, fix it!”.
He was a lover of nature and travel, and particularly enjoyed walking his dogs Gracie and Poncho along the Rio Grande River. He was a private pilot and a member of the West Mesa Flying club; enjoyed cross country skiing and river rafting; and was very fond of trips to Bosque del Apache and Ruidoso.
He was musically talented and could sit at the piano or pick up his guitar and entertain you for hours. Jim enjoyed athletic activities and was a good golfer in his family tradition. He also owned and operated his own Pecan Orchard with Rebecca while they lived on a small farm close to the Rio Grande River.
Jim’s father Richard preceded him in death in Taylorville, Ill., where his mother June Cheney still resides.
He is also survived by his wife Rebecca Kroll, his sister Sandi Cheney of Prescott, Arizona, his brother Douglas Cheney, wife Elayne Puzan of Portland, Ore. and their son Andrew Cheney of Seattle, Wash. and his extended family of Cheneys, Amlings, Siegerts, and McClungs living in Pana, Peoria, and Arlington Heights, Illinois, as well as Phoenix, Arizona. Tentative plans are for a memorial service to take place in late September in Illinois, as well as a small gathering of friends in Northern New Mexico.
Arrangements are with La Paz-Graham Funeral Home, 555 West Amador St., Las Cruces NM, 88005.
To sign the online guest book, please visit: www.LaPaz-Grahams.com