Obit James S. McCafferty

2012-09-21T10:56:00Z 2012-09-21T10:59:17Z Obit James S. McCafferty Rapid City Journal
September 21, 2012 10:56 am

James S. McCafferty

Sept. 21, 1927-Sept. 18, 2012

James S. McCafferty of Whitney passed away Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Ponderosa Villa in Chadron, three days before his 85th birthday.

Memorial services will be Saturday, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Chadron with Reverend Adam Davenport officiating.

Jim was born in Alliance, on Sept. 21, 1927 to CE and Alma McCafferty. He attended Alliance Public Schools through the first semester of his senior high school year and then enrolled at Chadron State College while waiting to be drafted.

He was able to continue his education at CSC until he volunteered for the U.S. Army five days before the draft was ended in 1946 and then spent 31 months in the Chemical Corps.

He completed a degree in chemistry from CSC in 1951.

He married fellow science student, Naomi Howard, of Whitney on May 26, 1950 and spent the next 61 years living on the Howard homestead where they raised four children.

Jim and Naomi farmed until Jim returned to college in 1957 to earn a teaching certificate. He taught at Hemingford High School until 1960, then returned to CSC to finish a master’s degree in 1961 and joined the college’s science faculty. He worked towards a doctoral degree at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, but returned to Whitney in 1964 to assist Naomi. In 1974 -75 he continued graduate studies at the University of Northern Colorado.

Jim spent 30 years teaching chemistry, astronomy, a forensic science lab, and other courses . During his tenure at CSC, he organized an aerospace workshop which included a trip to Cape Kennedy for the launch of the spaceship Columbia. He was the regional winner of the Federal Aviation Administration’s “championship awards for excellence in aviation administration.” After retiring in 1990 he continued as an educator at CSC, tutoring students in chemistry, for which he received the “Friend of Education” award in 1997.

Science and innovation were always a part of Jim’s life. He was always interested in the latest technology and scientific advances and spent hours on his computer and ham radio. He eagerly shared his love of science through programs for school children and assistance with science fairs.

At Camp Norwesca, Jim offered science programs to campers and was involved in camp management and fundraising for the camp lodge expansion. Camping, fishing and backpacking were favorite activities.

From 1967 through 1974 he directed the CSC Upward Bound program. He was involved in Methodist Church mission work in Whitney and Crawford, providing financial assistance and support to persons in need. Through the years, Jim and Naomi took many young people into their home. Helping the disabled was dear to his heart as both his best friend in childhood and his wife had suffered from polio.

He is survived by: his wife of 62 years Naomi, sons: Duff (Ro) of Rapid City, Marty, and Todd (Carol) of Iowa City, Iowa, daughter Shelley of Whitney, six grandchildren, sister Marion Butcher and nephew Steve (Sue) Neff.

Memorials may be made to the Chadron State Foundation for the establishment of a memorial scholarship in Jim McCafferty’s name. Donation may be sent to:Chadron State Foundation, 1000 Main Street, Chadron, NE 69337Online condolences can be made at

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