James’ life began on May 1, 1928, in Florence, KS. He was the son of James Arthur and Edith L. (Drush) Snelling. He was a 1946 graduate of Florence High School. James enlisted in the United States Air Force on May 20, 1946, and served until May 19, 1949, when he left the service as a staff sergeant.
James was united in marriage to the former Luella Beneke on June 6, 1954, in Lincolnville, KS. He worked at the Florence Bulletin before being employed by Trans World Airlines as a customer service and operations agent at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. James' job with TWA allowed the family to travel to many different cities in the U.S. and abroad. The family later moved to Wichita where he worked at Mid-Continent Airport until he retired from TWA in 1985. He then had several part time jobs until Luella retired.
James enjoyed attending the Florence High School Alumni banquets every year. He was a long-time member of Ascension Lutheran Church in Wichita and served on the church's Commission of Properties, mowing and caring for the lawn well into his 80’s. He enjoyed the outdoors, gardening (he loved his tomato plants!) and spending time with his family.
James is survived by his children Doranne (Roger) Beavers of Norman, OK, James (Linda) Snelling of Bells, TX, Mark Snelling of Wichita, Brad Snelling of Wichita, and Kay (Ron) Adams of Wichita; grandchildren Zac (Mira) Beavers, Tyler (Lexie) Beavers, and Cody (Christina) Beavers, Kyle (Natalie) Koontz, Cody (Lindsey) Koontz and Rachel Parker; and 15 great grandchildren. James passed away on January 30, 2022, at Wichita Presbyterian Manor. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife, grandson Ryan Parker, and siblings John Snelling and Shirley Robinson.
James' family will gather with friends on Sunday February 6, 2022, at Ascension Lutheran Church (842 N. Tyler Road; Wichita) for his funeral service at 2 p.m. with a visitation from 1 to 2 p.m. He will be laid to rest in Hillcrest Cemetery, Florence following the service. Yazel Megli Funeral Home is serving the family. Memorial contributions in his name may be directed to Ascension Lutheran Church or the Florence Historical Society. Please sign his online guestbook and leave a memory of James at www.yazelmeglifh.com.
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