James William Gaffaney, Fargo, ND, died peacefully in his sleep while sitting in his favorite chair on the morning of August 22 at the age of 73. He had suffered with his health for several years.
James was born on May 11, 1934 and raised on the family farm in Villard, MN. He was drafted into the US Army on November 7, 1952 and served in the Korean War as a Sergeant for an artillery unit during the war. James received several medals and commendations while serving. He was discharged from service on August 21, 1954.
Prior to being drafted, James played semi-professional baseball in Minnesota. Upon being discharged, he moved to New Town, ND and worked construction where he met his wife in 1955 and later married on July 20, 1960.
James spent most of his adult life working in the oilfield. He started working in Alaska in 1958. He drilled the discovery well in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. While working in Alaska, he worked for many different companies in several capacities, enjoying them all. He designed and built several drilling rigs in Alaska and Canada. James was instrumental in starting a school to train roughnecks and drillers before they went to work on the rigs. He also taught at this school. In addition to working in Alaska, James worked in the oilfields in North Dakota, California, Colorado, Canada and South America. Two of his sons and several nephews also worked for and with him in Alaska at different times. James retired in 2001 after working in Alaska for 43 years.
During retirement James was an active member of Holy Spirit Church, Knights of Columbus, the food pantry and his Wednesday morning coffee group. He was able to spend quality time with his grandchildren, Tyler and Megan and spent a lot of time on his hobby farm in Glyndon, MN until the time of his death.
James was preceded in death by his parents, William and Bertha; 2 sisters, Catherine and Madonna; 4 brothers, Raymond, Luverne, Duayne and John.
He is survived by his wife, Donna; 3 sons, Robert (Corrine) of Inver Grove Heights, MN, David (Patricia) of Lake Park, MN and Tom (Tricia) of Jamestown, ND; 4 grandchildren, Justin, David, Tyler and Megan and many nieces and nephews.
James is now at peace with God.
Visitation: Friday, August 24 from 5-7 pm at Boulger Funeral Home,
Fargo and one hour prior to Mass at the church on Saturday.
Prayer Service: Friday at 7:00 pm at the funeral home.
Funeral Mass: Saturday, August 25 at 10:30 am at Church of the Holy
Interment: North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan, ND.
Arrangements entrusted to Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo. Online guestbook at www.boulgerfuneralhome.com