James ‘Jim’ Joseph Barger

Oct. 25, 1929 – Nov. 3, 2019

On Sunday, Nov. 3, James “Jim” Joseph

Barger, 90, of Boulder, died peacefully in

his sleep at the Sublette Center, in Pinedale.

On Aug. 23, our Dad, Jim Barger suffered a

terrible broken femur and various other injuries.

With his positive outlook and strength

he made it through day after day of Boot

Camp (physical therapy). Strong does not

even scratch the surface of his strength and

determination! He kept his charm and charisma

as they took absolute fabulous care

of him. On Oct. 25, we celebrated his 90th

birthday party enjoying family and friends

and one dang good beer. We cannot forget

the Birthday Card Party where he received

76 wonderful cards and lots of love; what a

milestone and honor. With all this being said

he gave us SO much love, kisses and hope,

until the very end. We were ALL so lucky to

be a part of his life.

Jim was the fifth child and third son of

Fay Corolla and Anne (Morris) Barger, born

on Oct. 25, 1929, in Superior. In 1938, the

Barger family moved to Boulder – from

coalmines and boarding house to building a

ranching empire. He attended school in Boulder.

Jim’s love of horses began as a young

boy. His favorite horse growing up was a

big black gelding named Tony. According

to Jim’s younger sister Judy, their dad would

say of his three sons, “Jim was the cowboy,

Paul was the farmer and Glenn was the mechanic.”

Jim enlisted in the U.S. Army when he

was 19 years old, deploying to Japan and

Germany. He was in the service for two

years, when President Truman would not

allow them to be discharged, so he re-enlisted

for three more years in order to receive

bonus pay. When he was home on leave, he

met a young beauty, Rose Mary Kelly, from

Morton. They were married on Jan. 9, 1953,

in Ethete. Two weeks after their marriage,

Jim was shipped out to Frankfurt, Germany.

He was honorably discharged from the U.S

Army, serving a total of 5 years, 2 months

and 23 days. Jim was a Lifetime Member of

the VFW – Korean War Era.

Jim and Rose made their home in a

two-bedroom log cabin near Boulder, managing

and working on the Barger Ranch. Four

daughters were born of this union, Terrie,

Becky, Cindy and Connie. He was a strong

family man, providing a foundation of work

ethics, often with hard work and long hours,

but it was ingrained in his family values. His

wife and daughters were always a part of the

picture tending to the ranch. Chores started at

a very young age, gathering eggs, getting the

milk cows in and milking if he was running

late. Anytime the horses needed to be caught,

his daughters would get a can of grain and

coax them into the corral. Whether it was

going to check the cows or teaching us how

to take care of the horses, or going to check

a head gate, our family fun was usually work

oriented. Jim’s legacy of perseverance, hard

work and love of family has been handed

down through the next generation of grandkids

and great-grandkids. Jim took pride in

developing the best herd of cattle, riding the

best horses and designing the very best facilities

to work the cattle either on foot or horseback,

always making improvements. Over

the years, everything Jim did was directly in

relationship to “taking care of the cattle and

horses.” As Jim grew, he was making life

goals to become a successful rancher.

Not only did Jim enjoy his cowboy way

of life, he loved to take care of and work the

land. In 1991, after his parents’ ranch sold,

Jim and Rose bought property in Kinnear,

then in 1998 purchased the E.R. Schambers’

place near Pavillion. This was where Jim and

Rose were recognized for their land stewardship

efforts, converting flood irrigation to a

low-pressure pivot-and-wheel line irrigation

system through a Farm Bill Conservation

Security Program. “Their conviction to conservation

and all that they, as partners have

accomplished, leaves a lasting legacy on the

landscape,” said Nick Biltoft from the NRCS

Riverton field office. The program rewards

farmers and ranchers who are implementing

conservation on America’s working lands,

being based on conservation accomplishments,

recognizes the contributions of the

best land stewards and encourages them to

do more. To improve even more on the pivot

system, Jim extended the 16-foot booms by

6 feet. Deflectors that he crafted from quarter-

inch plastic prevented water getting on

the pivot tires, which decreases the impact of

tracks in his field. This is just one example

of Jim’s ingenuity and self-taught craft. He

always worked hard to improve these places

and made a profitable living, always striving

for perfection in his wild hay and alfalfa


Jim was self-taught in many ways, whether

it be a mechanic working on all the ranch

equipment and machinery, putting in a sprinkler

system, carpenter, plumber or whatever

was needed at the time. Using a stub pencil,

Jim kept records in his little pocket journal,

always having an accurate account of cattle,

horse or hay numbers and important dates.

Jim loved rodeo, riding bulls and cutter/

chariot racing. During the early ‘70s Jim was

president of the Sublette County Sporting

Association. He often judged in the nightly

rodeos in Pinedale and Big Piney. During the

summertime, Jim loaded up the family and

their horses to attend the Sublette County

Barrel Race nights, 4-H play days and horse


This month will be Jim’s 7-year anniversary

moving back to his roots in Boulder, to

be near his daughters and to join his friend

and companion, Betty Hunt. Over the course

of the years, almost every morning, Jim and

Betty would go to breakfast at the Boulder

Store. During the winter months, they would

head to Congress, Ariz. They shared times

with Betty’s family camping, fishing, hunting

elk, getting firewood and going to Hawaii.

During the last year, they had membership

to The Garage, where they would exercise;

doing pushups, dancing, playing tag and lifting

weights. On the videos, Dad and Betty

were sharing a bench and Dad reached around

and pinched her on the behind. They acted

like teenagers most of the time. He always

made the most of each day and had fun-loving

times. We took a trip with Dad and Betty

through the petrified forest, White Sands

and Carlsbad Caverns, stopping in Winslow,

Ariz., and Fort Sumner, N.M., where we

toured the museum. There were three Wyoming

displays: a Sublette County Centennial

License Plate No. 23-385, a sheriff’s badge

from Wind River Indian Reservation and an

advertisement with Darrell Winfield.

Jim is survived by his three daughters,

Terrie Ann Springman (Bob) of Big Piney

and Hurricane, Utah, Becky Louise Hicks

(Mickey) from Big Piney and Connie Ruth

Barger (Clayton Lunde) from Boulder, along

with seven grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren

and two siblings, Glenn (Nancy) Edwin

Barger of Fruita, Colo., and Judith (William)

Anne Rodriguez of Wells, Nev. Along with

his extended family is his companion, Betty

Hunt and her children, Chuck, Liz, Sue,

Kathy, Rosemary and their families.

Jim is preceded in death by his spouse

Rose Mary Kelly; their infant daughter

Cindy; his parents, Fay and Anne Barger; siblings,

Alice (Buzz) Fay Fuller, Fay (Buddy)

Morris Barger, George Barger, Elizabeth

(Bill) Aline Ellis, Paul Raymond Barger,

Frances (Chuck) Elaine Steinmetz, Patricia

(Ted) Joyce Hiner, and Gerald Barger.

A memorial service will be conducted at

11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at Covill Funeral

Home, 164 N. Bridger Ave., Pinedale.