Jim was born June 3, 1942 at Aberdeen, WA to Walter and Jeanne (Burke) DeMeerleer. He grew up and attended school in Tacoma, graduating from Lincoln High School there. He then enrolled at Washington State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business. During the summers, Jim worked commercial fishing in Alaska to help fund his education.
Following graduation, Jim was in a partnership with Shell Oil in Bellevue, WA before joining his uncle Roy Burke as a partner in Surplus Furniture in Moscow. Jim purchased the store, and in the late 1970’s built Furniture Center at its present location in Moscow. He later expanded the operation, buying out Furniture West in Moscow and 9 other locations in the Northwest.
Jim enjoyed horseback riding, trophy hunting, fishing, camping, rowing, traveling and many other outdoor activities including being a private pilot to remote locations. He was also an active community leader. Jim was instrumental in the Moscow Rural Fire Department equipping the volunteers and obtaining any apparatus needed. He served as State Fire Commissioner President, Moscow Chamber of Commerce President, Lion’s Club President, was a member of the Masonic and Shrine Lodges, The Moscow Executive Association, the Elk’s and Eagle’s Lodges, served as a Boy Scout Leader, Vandal Boosters, WSU Booster as well as many other clubs and organizations.
Jim and Eugenia Webster were married in Moscow on February 24, 1964, had three children together and were later divorced. He was married to Trudy Glaesemann on May 11, 1985 at Coeur d’Alene. They too were later divorced, however Trudy along with Jim’s closest friend, Jim Haneline were Jim’s primary caregivers during his final days.
Surviving are his children, Eugene R. (Velma) DeMeerleer in Moscow and Jennifer R. DeMeerleer (John) in Liberty Lake, WA; five grandchildren, Rachel, Colton, Janelle, Jacey and Valerie. He also leaves his mother, Jeanne L. Burke of Tacoma and brothers, Walter (Brent) and Lynn DeMeerleer and Mark (Carol) DeMeerleer all of Moscow and sisters, Renee DeMeerleer of Tacoma and Diane (Dennis) Erlenmeyer of Puyallup, WA and several nieces and nephews.
Jim was preceded in death by his father, Walter, in 1999 and a son, Jan R. DeMeerleer in 2010.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, October 4th at 2:00 PM at the Moscow First United Methodist Church. Pastor Shane Moore will officiate and a reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.
The family suggests memorials be made to the Moscow Rural Fire Department, PO Box 8626, Moscow, ID 83843.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.net.