Jim Kienholz was born on March 1, 1940, and passed away on November 12, 2018, at Mercy Hospital. He was raised in the little farming community of Lucien, Oklahoma, and his parents were Dora and Erhardt Kienholz. In anticipation of his birth, Dora moved from the farm into town so that she could be close to the tiny hospital. On the night he was born, his father walked through a snowstorm in order to make it to town to be present at his birth. Had Jim been born just a few hours earlier, he would have been a “Leap Year” baby. Growing up as the youngest of seven children, many of his early days were spent in a one-room schoolhouse where the teacher taught grades 1-8. He graduated from Hayward High School in 1957 with just two other students. He had fun telling people that he graduated in the top third of his class!
He was a proud graduate of Oklahoma State University and an avid supporter of OSU sports, especially the football program, and he was a season ticket holder for over fifty years. While at OSU, he was President of East Bennett Hall, an Independent Men’s Residence Hall senator, and Vice President of the Student Body. His campaign slogan was that he was “able to leap buildings in a single bound “ and it must have been effective since he and his running mate, Wes Watkins, won their election. He also participated in ROTC.
Beginning in July of 1961, Jim served two years on active duty with the United States Army as a Lieutenant during the Berlin Crisis and the Cuban Crisis. He returned to Oklahoma and joined the 45th Infantry Division of the Oklahoma National Guard, retiring in 1982 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after serving as the Commander of the 700th Support Battalion.
Jim’s banking career began in August of 1963 when he joined Liberty National Bank as a management trainee. Early on Jim realized that correspondent banking was the area of service he liked best and he so enjoyed the relationships he had with bankers all over Oklahoma. In 1982 he moved to Security National Bank in Enid, serving as President. He returned to Liberty in 1985 and was back in correspondent banking doing what he most enjoyed. Jim was at Liberty as it changed to Bank One and then to JP Morgan Chase. He joined The Bankers Bank in March of 2000 where he served as a Senior Vice President. In 2013, the Oklahoma Bankers Association recognized Jim for 50 years of service to the Oklahoma banking industry.
When serving in the military, Jim’s motto was, “We Can – We Will Support.” As a banker, his motto was, “Help When Needed.” He felt like he got to live in the best of both worlds.
He met his wife Johnna at Liberty Bank, and they were married in 1965. They were married 53 years and had such a happy life together raising their family. They enjoyed taking their children on trips all over the United States to introduce them to this great country that Jim loved so much. The family’s favorite place is Red River, New Mexico, and many happy vacations were spent there hanging out by the river, fishing, having duck races, riding four wheelers, swimming, having dance contests, driving Jeeps and enjoying the cool mountain air. Jim and Johnna treasured their many friends and especially the “Friday Night Friends” they met with weekly. Trips to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Mexico, Canada, and Europe made for wonderful memories. Jim took to cruising like a duck takes to water, and a riverboat trip down the Danube with good friends was a highlight. Getting to visit beautiful Kienholz, Switzerland, the place where his family originated, and being able to meet his Swiss relatives was very special. An Alaskan cruise was something Jim had long anticipated and it proved to be everything he had hoped. Cruising the Caribbean with Johnna’s high school friends was another fun time. Jim was active in the Village United Methodist Church serving in many leadership positions. Sunday mornings found him at the door of the church greeting members and guests as they arrived for services and as they departed. Jim was a long-time member of the Crusaders Class and he loved the fellowship with the members. He was also a participant in Bible Study Fellowship for many years.
He is survived by his family who loved him so much, his wife, Johnna, their daughter Susan, her husband Paul, and their three children: Nicholas, Jonathan, and Victoria; and their son, Kevin, and his wife, Cindy, and their three children: Kathryn, Cameron, and Brenden; and his sister-in-law Ernestine Anthony. Even though Jim was referred to as “Colonel” by some, the name he liked best is the one given to him by his grandchildren – Bobo.
He is also survived by many nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly and who have been so attentive to him through the years.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters and their husbands, Aline and Clifford Hise and Georgeanna and Ernest Grant; his brothers and their wives, Wilbert and Etta Jane Kienholz, Eldon and Betty Kienholz, and brothers Paul Kienholz and Loren Kienholz; and nephew, Myron Hise. He was also preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Amy Jones, who shared his home for 20 years; his sister-in-law, Barbara McPhail, who referred to him as her “Bro;” his brothers-in-law, Willis McPhail and W.G. Anthony.
His was a life well lived and he was loved by so many.
Services will be held at 10:00 a.m., November 17, 2018 at the Village United Methodist Church with interment to follow at Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be held Friday, November 16, 2018 from 12:00- 8:00 p.m. with a formal visitation from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Memorials may be made to the Village United Methodist Church 2501 West Britton Road in memory of Jim.