James McLaird

Dates

December 11, 1940 - August 31, 2017

Obituary

James McLaird, 76, Mitchell, SD died Thursday, August 31, 2017 at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell.

Funeral services will be 10:30 am Wednesday, September 6 at the First United Methodist Church in Mitchell. Burial will be in the Memorial Hill Cemetery at 3:00 pm on Wednesday in Lake Benton, MN. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 pm on Tuesday with a prayer service at 7:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church. Arrangements are with the Bittner Funeral Chapel in Mitchell.

James David McLaird was born December 11, 1940, at Lake Benton, MN, to Ernest and Ruby (Rochel) McLaird. He graduated from Miller High School in Miller, SD in 1958. In 1962, he received his B.A. degree from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD. On December 23, 1961, he married Donna Hillman at Faulkton, SD. He did graduate work for one year at Boston University School of Theology and three years at the University of Wyoming where he received his Masters degree. He taught history at Dakota Wesleyan University for thirty-seven years and was professor emeritus there. In 2005 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Dakota Wesleyan.  Although interested in many aspects of history, Jim specialized in the history of South Dakota and the American West. He published numerous articles on South Dakota history, including an examination of east river/west river differences, the legend of the “white Mandan” Indians and Calamity Jane. In 2012 he received the Robinson Award from the South Dakota State Historical Society. His “Calamity Jane: the Woman and the Legend” was named “Best Non-Fiction Book published in 2005” by Westerners International. He also published “Wild Bill Hickok & Calamity Jane: Deadwood Legends” with the South Dakota Historical Society Press in 2008. His most recent book was “Hugh Glass: Grizzly Survivor.” He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Mitchell.

He is survived by his wife Donna; two sons, John McLaird and wife, Rachel of Duluth, MN and Steven McLaird of Minneapolis, MN; three grandchildren: Andrew, Ceiteag and Ashlyn McLaird of Duluth, MN; two brothers, Glenn McLaird of Miller, SD and Robert McLaird and wife, Lee of Bowling Green, OH; one sister, Marilyn Grambihler of Plankinton, SD; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant brother.


Visitation(s)

Date
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Time
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location
Prayer Service begins at 7:00 PM
Mitchell First United Methodist Church
310 North Rowley
Mitchell, SD 57301

Service

Date
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Time
10:30 AM
Location
Mitchell First United Methodist Church
310 North Rowley
Mitchell, SD 57301

Cemetery

Memorial Hill Cemetery
Lake Benton, MN


Posted by Wrenda Herther Fuller on September 8, 2017
Even though I had Jim McClaird as a professor 50 years ago and worked for him as a Department Secretary for those years before I graduated from DWU, he is still Mr. McLaird to me. He was an inspiration, a mentor an a lifelong friend. He taught me how to think, how to write a decent paper, how to research, and how to question. My favorite memories are of doing research for him on the many myths we hold on western figures. I thank him for all his gifts. I will miss seeing him on my rare trips back to DWU. May he rest in peace and may the family be comforted by the many memories he produced.
Posted by Craig Neumeister on September 6, 2017
I want to express to you my sympathy and sadness hearing of Jim's passing.I had just visited with James recently on the phone a short time ago about sharing with the Westerners his books he had written. I remember meeting Jim years ago and enjoying his topics he had to share. We will miss him ,but we will remember his love of history getting the story right and be reassured that Jim is home in Heaven where there is peace forever.
Posted by Gwen Rothenberger on September 5, 2017
A great loss. Jim was a great teacher and a wonderful college advisor so many years ago. I will miss the visits with him during my daily walks around DWU's campus. Blessings and sympathies to you Donna, John and Steven.
Posted by Richard Lucas, PhD. on September 4, 2017
Jim was one of the dearest and brightest soul that I've ever met--when I met him as an undergraduate at DWU those 59 years ago.
Posted by Jen Larsen on September 4, 2017
I'm so sorry for your loss. He was an outstanding teacher because for many of his students he brought history to life for them and made it interesting.
Posted by John and Corinne Erickson on September 2, 2017
So sorry for your loss, know our thoughts and prayers are with you. I know he was a remarkable person, just wish we hadn't lived so far apart that we didn't get aquainted more.
Posted by Rose Reinhart on September 2, 2017
I had the privilege of working with Jim McLaird for 10 years at Dakota Wesleyan. He was bright and personable but most of all funny and humble.I could spend hourstalkingwith himand he never grew tired of talkingabout hislatest project of hisfamily. He will bemissedbynot only his Dakota Wesleyan community but by humanity as well. I hope the first one to meet him at his death was Calamity Jame.
Posted by Rose Reinhart on September 2, 2017
I had the privilege of working with Jim McLaird for 10 years at Dakota Wesleyan. He was bright and personable but most of all funny and humble.I could spend hourstalkingwith himand he never grew tired of talkingabout hislatest project of hisfamily. He will bemissedbynot only his Dakota Wesleyan community but by humanity as well. I hope the first one to meet him at his death was Calamity Jame.
Posted by Tami McKillop (Aslesen) on September 2, 2017
I never really cared or learned that much in history class before I met Mr. McLaird. He had so much passion for history and really made it come to life. I loved how he would have us read 2 different stories about the same conflict. You would have sworn by what you read both sides won. Which really came to his point of you need to find the fact yourself because most of what you read is propaganda or what someone wants you to believe happened. So true to this day! He is probably my favorite most memorable teacher I ever had. He will be truly missed by many who walked through his classroom door.
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