Cover photo for James Walma's Obituary
James Walma Profile Photo
1945 James 2020

James Walma

February 3, 1945 — April 26, 2020

James Henry Walma was born February 3. 1945 in Grand Rapids, MI to Ruth and Henry T. Walma. He grew up on the family farm and enjoyed sports (especially basketball), working with horses and causing trouble with his best friend Larry Devries.

He graduated from Hudsonville High School in Jenison, MI in 1962 and went to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo on a football scholarship. He was drafted in 1969 and served for two years in Viet Nam. He was with the 1st Infantry Division, and was a decorated Staff Sergeant awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and RVN Cross of Gallantry.

He returned home to Hudsonville, MI and began shoeing horses, working on the Chicago racetracks and competing in rodeos across the East and Southeast. He loved to bulldog.

While attending the Ferrier program at Montana State University - Bozeman in the early 70's he met the love of his life, Gail Goodrich at the 320 Ranch near Big Sky, MT. They were married in 1974? and their daughter Jamie Marie was born in 1976. Together, Jim and Gail embarked on an amazing life journey in hospitality outdoor recreation and developing which included guest ranching, hunting, sleigh rides, stables, cattle operations, RV parks and horse facilities in Montana, Colorado and Arizona. In their spare time, they loved team roping and all horse-related activities. Jim touched countless lives in the multitude of friends he made as a horseshoer, wrangler, packer, hunting guide, teacher and team roper.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents Ruth and Henry Walma, His sister Janet, his sister Emily and his wife Gail Wilma. Jim is survived by his daughter Jamie Walma of Wickenburg, AZ, his grandson Doc Massey of Wickenburg, AZ, his nephew Terry Grooters of Grand Rapids, MI, his sister-in-law Carrie Compton (Don) and many friends.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Walma, please visit our flower store.


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