He was born on November 24, 1927 to Mervin and Velda (Brower) Neilsen in Pocatello, ID.
He spent his childhood in Hawkins Basin in Southern Idaho until he was drafted into the Seagoing Army to serve in the Korean War.
On his way home from the war, he met the love of his life, Juanita Morris, who he married on December 28, 1952 in Spokane, WA.
They were married for 40 years until her death in 1993.
James is survived by their five children: Patty Neilsen, Spokane, WA, Sondra (Steve) Scott, Newport, WA, Judy (Rod) Hutton, Republic, WA, Jim Neilsen, San Francisco, CA, Kevin (Robbie) Neilsen, Spokane, WA.
Survivors also include five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, numerous step-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, one brother and two sisters.
He is preceded in death by his parents and two brothers.
He moved his wife and two daughters from Southern Idaho to the property in Usk, WA in 1957 to be the foreman for the cattle operation of the Pennell Fur Farm.
He continued to reside on the property and raise his family and was able to obtain the property in the 1970s.
He pursued his passion of raising cattle and running his farm until his declining health forced his retirement.
Viewing will be held on Friday, September 27, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm.
at the Sherman-Knapp Funeral Home, services will be held on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. with interment to follow at the Newport Cemetery.
A luncheon will follow at the Usk Community Center in Usk, WA.
the family suggests that memorials be made to the Newport Hospital & Health Services Foundation, 714 Pine St., Newport, WA 99156 or the Usk Community Center, Usk, WA.
SHERMAN-KNAPP FUNERAL HOME in NEWPORT is in charge of arrangements.
Family and friends are invited to sign the online guest book at sherman-knapp.com