James Danks, 89
A funeral Mass for James “Jim” Danks, 89, of Killdeer, formerly of Mandaree, was held at 11 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2016 at Water Chief Hall in Mandaree with Father Roger Synek celebrating. Burial took place in the Danks Family Cemetery at the Bench Cross Ranch. Military Rites will be by the Myron B. Johnson Nathan Good Iron Post #271 of Mandaree.
Visitation was held from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 at at Stevenson Funeral Home in Killdeer with a wake service being held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 30 at Water Chief Hall in Mandaree.
James died Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at Hill Top Home of Comfort in Killdeer.
Jim Danks was born April 9, 1927 in Elbowoods to Maurice and Clara Hall Danks; their eldest son, of a family that included five brothers and four sisters. He grew up dividing his time between the family’s school home on Bluewater Creek near his maternal grandparents in Elbowoods and their ranch in the Raub area. His boyhood years were spent in the family tradition of raising and breaking horses with the Wilkinson and Young Bear boys. Some of his fondest memories were of the secretive rodeos produced by his brothers and sisters, who rode the milk cows while his parents took the cream to town. He attended Elbowoods High School and was active in football. Jim enlisted in the Navy during World War II where he served as Motor Machine Mate, Navy Seaman Third Class. He saw action in the Pacific Theater on the Island of Guam. Jim was one of only a few remaining World War II Veterans on Fort Berthold. He married Elsie Scheuffele in Dunn Center in 1947. Together they raised five sons on the Bench Cross Ranch east of Mandaree, which he established in 1954. He also worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Sub Agency office as a Range Conservationist in the 70’s. He was instrumental in assisting his Tribe in establishing the Buffalo Project. He served his community on the local school board and the Community Action Program.
Jim was an avid stockman. He held several terms on the Executive Board of the Fort Berthold Land and Livestock Association. He was also a strong advocate on Range Conservation issues and served the Dunn County Soil Conservation District Board. In his later years he assisted his sons with the development of the Skunk Bay Recreation area and was active in the organization of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame where he was a trustee. Jim was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9061. He was a proud descendent of his Great Uncle, the famous cowboy, Clayton Danks and participated in his honor in the Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Like most stockmen, he appreciated working his cattle on a good cutting horse. Some of his favorites were Little Red, Sorrell, Skags and a bay he called Reggie. He believed in hard work and finishing the job; even if it meant branding calves in the headlights at midnight. His hobbies were reading and playing cards, which he especially enjoyed with his paternal uncles when they visited.
Jim is survived by his companion, Phyllis O’Neil of Killdeer; sons, Edward and Ted (Cheryl) Danks of Bismarck, Ken (Cyndy) and Curtis Danks both of Mandaree; brothers, John Danks, Solly Danks of New Town, Maurice Danks of Dodge; one sister, Fern Greff of Garrison.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Quentin Crowe and Richard Crowe; sisters, Carolyn Chase, Marcella Aldinger, and Viola Schettler; son, Lyle Danks; and granddaughter, Samantha Danks.
The family requests all donations to be directed to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9061, Mandaree, N.D. and/or the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora, N.D.