James (Jim) Robert Mecca
August 1, 2019
James (Jim) Robert Mecca, the son of a coal mining family, was born in Glencoe, WY, on September 17, 1933, to James and Mae Mecca. He died early Wednesday morning, July 24th, 2019 at the Hospice of Laramie after a 16 month battle with cancer. He had three siblings; brother Ernest (who preceded him in death), sister Lois (Mrs. Don Simpson of Thermopolis) and an infant brother John who died at childbirth.
His family moved to Rock Springs, WY, where he began his schooling. He graduated from Reliance High School in 1952. After high school Jim joined the U.S. Navy, serving from 1952-56, including a tour in the Korean War. He also served in the Wyoming National Guard for seven years.
He married Margaret Medley on November 11, 1956, in Santa Maria, CA. The couple moved to Laramie in 1957, where Jim attended the University of Wyoming receiving a B.S. in Education. After graduation he began his teaching and coaching career in Burlington, followed by LaBarge, Thermopolis and Shoshoni from 1961-68.
In 1968 Jim became the owner/manager of the Tepee Spa in Hot Springs State Park which served as the family business for 28 years. Later in his life he was a professional Santa Claus in both Oregon and Montana.
Jim and Margaret continued to call Thermopolis their home for 54 years. During their time in Thermopolis Jim was involved with the Eastern Star (Past Worthy Patron), the Masonic Lodge (Past Master) and the Kalif Shrine (serving as state Potentate in 1997). He was Past Commander of V.F.W. Post 2281. He also served on the University of Wyoming Alumni Board, the Wyoming Shrine Football Board and was a member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church for many years. Jim and Margaret returned to Laramie in October of 2017.
Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing, attending his sons' athletic events and his work with the Shriners. He also enjoyed walking. He walked more than 600 miles across Wyoming to raise money for two charities. His first walk was from Cheyenne to Thermopolis followed by a second walk from Thermopolis to Evanston. As a result of these two walks he was able to raise more than $30,000 for Wyoming Children's Health and the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children.
His six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren were the light of his life. The final and greatest tribute allowed to him, he claimed, was the host of friends he had across his beloved state of Wyoming as well as having the opportunity to be a Christian witness during his final years to as many as possible. He will truly rest in peace.
Jim is survived by his wife of 62 years, Margaret, sons Ernie (Cindy) and Scott (Lana) of Laramie, six grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, sister Lois Simpson (Don) of Thermopolis and three nieces and two nephews.
A Legacy and Celebration of Life was held on July 30th, at Snowy Range EFREE Church following graveside Military Honors and Masonic services at Greenhill Cemetery in Laramie.
In lieu of flowers please send memorial donations to one of these organizations:
Shriners Hospitals for Children ATTN: Office of Development 2900 N. Rocky Point Drive Tampa, FL 33607 https://donate.lovetotherescue.org Direct your memorial gift to the Salt Lake City, UT Hospital
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105 https://www.stjude.org/give.html
Hospice of Laramie 1754 Centennial Drive Laramie, WY 82070 http://www.hospiceoflaramie.org