James F. Erland, 87, Lawrence, died Sunday, February 19, 2017, at his home under hospice care. Jim was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, September 30, 1929, the son of Lucile Karenna Lenore Carlson and John Arthur Erland, who was a partner in the local Tru-Fit Shoe Company, co-founded by his grandfather John Erland in 1935 in Ottumwa. Jim worked many years growing up helping with sales at the Tru-Fit, a prosperous downtown business.
He attended Ottumwa high school, lettering in football and basketball, graduating in 1947. Subsequently, he attended Iowa State University, graduating with an Industrial Economics degree in 1951. At Iowa State University, he played on the college basketball team, and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity where he served as Rush Chairman, and member of their flying club that owned four aircraft. As a pilot, he frequently flew college mates to the University of Kansas-Iowa State games in Lawrence. He also conducted flying air demonstrations for Iowa State games.
Upon graduating from Iowa State, a fraternity brother, Paul Benke, hired Jim to work in the Purchasing Department at Cline Electric Manufacturing Company, Chicago, IL. The company made machine parts and bomber engine parts for the Korean War. Jim worked there for one year before he was drafted into the US Army Military Corp.
Subsequently, in 1952, Jim served two years in the Army Corp for the Korean War, stationed in the Philippine Islands. Having administration and engineering credentials from Iowa State University, he served with the 29th Topographic Engineering Battalion that reconstructed the islands following World War II.
In 1953, he returned home to work with Conoco Oil Company as a Sales Representative for the Des Moines, Iowa district, transferring to Scottsbluff in 1961, and Lincoln, NE in 1965. In 1969 he was transferred to Kansas City-Overland Park, later living in Lawrence, serving as their Commercial Real Estate Broker. Before retiring with Conoco in 1982, he worked as commercial real estate broker, acquiring land for service stations. Maintaining a real estate broker’s license, he worked with Stephen’s Real Estate until 2008. He maintained this license until 2013.
Jim maintained an active working life-style having been a throat cancer and two open heart surgeries survivor. He was an avid golfer, playing in many golf tournaments in the Midwestern area.
He was a founding partner in 1981, with his wife Jan, of Mem-ExSpan, Inc. cognitive skills advancement training. For many years he worked for Mem-ExSpan with advertising and marketing endeavors, traveling and setting up thirteen national test sites.
In August of 1958, he married Janis Kuyper of Pella, Iowa, still of the home. He is survived by three children Mark James Erland of San Clemente, CA, Christina Lucile Erland Culver of Washington DC, and Cynthia Joy Erland, of South Pasadena, California, and three grandchildren; Estelle Erland Rubin of South Pasadena, and Nicholas and Samuel Erland of San Clemente, CA.
Since 1971, Jim was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, ushering at both churches and for many years as head usher at Trinity Church, and served on their vestry. He was also a member of the Elks Lodge, and the American Legion.
Memorial services will be announced in April.