James “Jim” William Heringer, aged 71, passed away peacefully at home in Billings, Montana on February 14, 2020. The son of John “Jack” Joseph Heringer and Verlie “Pat” Beatrice Rae, Jim was born in Billings on June 21, 1948. He attended Holy Rosary school, Central Catholic High School, Billings West High School, and Carroll College. He later earned his B.A. from the University of San Francisco. Jim joined the Navy in 1967, serving as a corpsman in Vietnam and earning two bronze stars. Jim and Rita Jeanne Wynkoop married in Billings on July 12, 1969 and would go on to have three children, who explored the country with him over the 18 years he served in the Coast Guard, from which he retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 3. With his wealth of knowledge and expertise, Jim went on to a second career in environmental safety in California.
Jim was known by family, friends and colleagues for his extensive knowledge on numerous subjects and would often be called upon for advice for his tongue-in-cheek “useless information.” He was especially versed in history, railroads, U.S. geography, household repairs, and medical advice. He was also a keen cribbage player and would endeavor to “skunk” his opponents every chance he got. Jim drove countless thousands of miles, exploring backroads, “chasing trains,” and checking-out the newest Black Bear Diner. Jim knew no strangers, often striking up conversations with whomever crossed his path, and enjoyed regular visits to his favorite local restaurants to see his favorite servers. Jim also enjoyed cooking and liked sharing his stews and gumbos with friends and family. He would do absolutely anything for his family and was always there to rescue them.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Pat. He is survived by his wife, Rita Heringer; his children, Lisa (Brian) Ross of Helena, Montana; DeAnne (Doug) Caluya of Vacaville, California; and Jacob (Shelly) Heringer of Elk Grove, California; his grandchildren, Sierra, Michael, Benjamin, and Brenna; Karyn; and Erika, Kobi, and Keilani; his great-grandchildren, Zander and Josiah; and his dogs, faithful companions through the end, Shadow and Me Too.
Jim touched countless lives and will be terribly missed, but we’re sure he’d like us to think of him as “On the Road Again.”
The graveside service will be at the Yellowstone National Cemetery, 55 Buffalo Trail Rd., Laurel, Montana on Friday February 21 at 1:00 P.M. A memorial gathering will follow at VFW Post 1634, 4242 State Ave., Billings, Montana at 2:00 P.M. All are welcome to both.
In lieu of flowers, Jim would be honored if donations were sent to 4 Paws Rescue, P.O. Box 13, Cardwell, MT, 59721.