Cover photo for Wayne James's Obituary
Wayne James Profile Photo
1938 Wayne 2023

Wayne James

October 23, 1938 — April 14, 2023


Kenneth Wayne James, 84, of Vermillion, SD, was received to glory April 14, 2023, after his decline from congestive heart failure. In anticipation Wayne said, “This will be the Greatest day of my Life!”  

Wayne was born October 23, 1938 in Raton, New Mexico, to William and Naomi (Bowles) James. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, teacher, pastor, mentor, and one of God’s faithful servants.

Wayne was raised on a homestead ranch near Clayton, New Mexico, where he acquired a fondness for mountains and riding horses. Wayne received a BA in Bible and English from Hardin Simmons University, Degree of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Wayne met his honey (Billie) at seminary in Fort Worth, TX, and they were married on May 22, 1962 in Knoxville, TN. After serving in Mountain Missions he went back to school and received a Masters of Physics from Tennessee Tech. His numerous professional roles included: high school physics teacher, tennis coach, associate pastor, senior pastor and he retired as a bi-vocational pastor in Vermillion, SD. At the University of South Dakota he was an instructor of physics and developed the physics labs. His other vocation in Vermillion was pastor of Grace Baptist Church where he saw much growth in his 22 years of service.

Wayne enjoyed family vacations, backpacking and trout fishing in the Gila Wilderness with his family.  He was always proud to watch his physics students as they started their careers. He loved to study the Bible and enjoyed discussions in Bible studies at church. Wayne was also a loyal follower of the USD Coyotes.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Billie Lou (Julian) James, his parents, and brother William E. James.

He is survived by his loving family: son Brad and his wife Kari Jo and their children Levi, Ethan and Kinsey. Daughter Carla and her husband Cory Gonyo and their children Caleb and his wife Katie and new great granddaughter Leah, Clayton, Josiah, Micah and Charis.  Daughter Jenny and her husband Chad Mohler.  Sister Mary Ellen Warren and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Grace Baptist Church or Wayne James memorial fund to be directed by the family.

Livestream the service by going to  then click on the button that says "Click to join our Sunday 10:00am livestream." Stream of Wayne's funeral service will start a little before 10:00 am on April 21.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Wayne James, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, April 20, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, April 21, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

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