James D. Runkle was born November 17, 1946, in Amarillo Texas. Within a year, his family moved to El Paso. At a very early age Jim learned to a have love of selling - he had a paper route, sold yard lights, he cooked and sold popcorn and hotdogs for his dad's business as concessionaire at what was then Texas Western, now UTEP. His mother's nickname for him was "Jimmy done it!" He was a very active, mischievous boy! One Christmas eve, he hid under a table in his parents' living room, waiting to see Santa Claus. His parents had guests over and when they couldn't find him, they searched the neighborhood. Their minister was sitting by that table, looked down, catching a glimpse of Jimmy's pjs. He grabbed them and pulled him out from under the table! His mother, Doris was at a parent teacher conference and the teacher told her Jimmy's grades could be better, if he didn't have to leave early to catch the school bus! They only lived three blocks from the school! He loved sports and played in Gray Y baseball and football, his dad being coach for both. Jim also played both sports in high school and got a scholarship to UTEP for baseball. In college, he was a Phi Kappa Tau and served as social chairman for his fraternity for four years, because he threw the best parties! Jim first "met" Martha, the love of his life, at her pledge open house in 1969. Jim worked during college and after, at his parent's truck equipment company and he graduated from UTEP with a BA in business. Jim adored and helped raise his younger brother, David. He taught him how to play baseball and was there for him, always. Jim and Martha were married April 1, 1972. A year later, July 13th, 1973, they were blessed with their beautiful daughter, Jennifer.
In 1977 they moved to Albuquerque to set up another branch of the truck equipment business. Jim and Martha loved their churches and the friends they made while volunteering. Years later, Jim wanted a change and for a few years worked at Sunset Memorial Park. Jim had a love for people and for life, he felt very blessed. He then chose to sell orthopedic braces. He traveled New Mexico and Texas, earning numerous awards. He was an entrepreneur, as well, creating a 4 Way chuck key, for operating rooms and a specialized table for hand surgery. On April 22, 1998, he became Grampi, to his precious granddaughter, Bailey. In 2010, he and Martha made the decision to open a storefront bracing company. For the first few years it was a struggle. They had a wonderful staff and they worked hard to make it one of the premier stock and bill bracing companies in New Mexico. Jim continued to travel and sell braces, until he was forced to retire when Alzheimer's took over. He continued to be the kind, sweet, happy man that everyone knew. Jim went home to his Heavenly Father on Tuesday, February 7th, 2024. Jim is remembered by Martha, Jennifer (Ron), Bailey, his brother David, brother-in law, Michael (Christina), niece Claire (Dan) and many cousins and close friends.
His service will be at 10:00 am, Thursday, February 15th, 2024, at Sagebrush Community Church, 7500 Montgomery Blvd, NE. A reception following at El Pinto Restaurant.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer's Association.