James W. "Jim" Bissell

Thursday, April 7, 2005

James W. "Jim" Bissell, 87, of Jasonville, passed away Monday, April 4, 2005 at his residence.

Born Feb. 27, 1918 in Jasonville, he was the son of Walter Edgar Bissell, originally of Pomroy, Ohio, and Elsie (Barnhill) Bissell of Jasonville. On Dec. 14 1940, he married Kathleen "Kay" (Leach) Bissell, who passed away Oct. 10, 1994.

He was a retired pipe fitter and welder and was a third owner of Bissell Machine & Welding Co., Inc. He was a member of Pipe Fitters Local 208 of Denver, Colo.

He was the eldest of four children. During his high school years, he was a star center for the Jasonville Yellow Jackets basketball team. After graduating, he attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering, where he was again a starter for the basketball team. He studied mechanical drawing, machinery and welding. He was also a welding instructor there. In 1939, he took a position with Solar Aircraft in San Diego, Calif., starting as a "C" welder. By the time he left Solar in 1944, he had been promoted a number of times to General Foreman Leaving Solar, he then took a position with the University of California, Marine Physical Laboratory at the U.S. Navy Electronics Laboratory and worked there for two years. He married Kathleen Leach of Escondido, Calif., and the couple had two daughters while living in San Diego. In 1946, the family moved back to Jasonville and Jim and his father opened the Bissell Machine and Welding Company. Their third daughter was born in Linton two years after their return to Indiana. The Bissells sold their shop in 1955 to Tri-Industries and then to Smith Aviation, which is currently operating in Terre Haute. After selling the shop, the family moved back to California and Jim took a position with Interstate Electronics in Anaheim as a Senior Manufacturing Planner and Cost Estimator for the Polaris Test Systems. His fourth daughter was born in Orange, Calif. After retiring from Interstate, he worked as a pipe fitter in Denver, Colo., and then moved to Spanish Fork, Utah before returning to Jasonville in 1986. His wife passed away 10 years ago. Since her passing, Jim has spent most of his time creating imaginative works of art while sitting on his front porch watching the seasons come and go here in Jasonville. Several years ago his work was exhibited at the Outsider Fair in New York City.

Survivors include: four daughters, Linda Oberhansley of Spanish Fork, Utah, Carol Ferro of Bethel, Conn., Barbara Wood of Stockbridge, Ga., and Jami Hayck of Denver, Colo.; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Kathleen "Kay", two sisters, Geraldine "Gerry" Gilbert and Kathleen "Kay" Kester, and a brother Donald Bissell.

Graveside service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday at K of P Cemetery at Hymera.

McClanahan-Lee Funeral Home in Jasonville is in charge of arrangements.