James Wiley Gilstrap, 75, formerly of Las Cruces, NM, died February 15, 1999 suffering from a lengthy illness of emphysema and Parkinson's disease. James Wiley was born March 25, 1923 at Maxwell, New Mexico, the third child of Joseph Ensley and Effie Eugenia Lusk Gilstrap. He attended school in northern New Mexico at Maxwell, Raton, Roy, Mills and Miami, and graduated from high school at Springer, New Mexico in 1941. He enrolled at New Mexico State College, joined the Advanced ROTC, and was called to active duty in 1943. After receiving Infantry training in California, Georgia, and Mississippi, he was assigned to the 97th Infantry Division and was attached to Gen. Patton's Third Army in the European Theatre of Operations. After the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, the Third Army spearheaded the drive into Czechoslovakia and met the Russian Army at Pilsen. The 97th was then assigned occupation duty in Japan. After being discharged in March, 1946, James finished the degree in Agriculture at New Mexico State University and started teaching Veteran's Farm Training in San Miguel and Colfax County, New Mexico. He married Rowena Ikenberry on August 5, 1951 in Springer, NM. He was appointed County 4-H Agent in Lea County, Lovington, New Mexico in 1954 and advanced to County Extension Director in 1956. He transferred to DeBaca County, Fort Sumner in 1972, and retired in 1981, making his home in Las Cruces, NM. They moved to Winston-Salem, NC in 1996 to live near their daughter, Roberta Lasley and family. During his career, he served in many positions of leadership in each community in which he resided: post commander of Lovington American Legion, President of Fort Sumner Rotary Club and served on the official board of Fort Sumner United Methodist Church and St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Las Cruces. He is survived by his wife, Rowena of Pfafftown, NC; three daughters and one son, Cathy Gilstrap of Colorado Springs, CO, Laura Pruitt, her husband, Norman, and two sons, Ethan and Jason of Okinawa, Japan, James Paul Gilstrap and wife, Gwyneth and daughter, Amanda of St. Louis, MO, and Roberta Lasley, her husband, Tim and two sons, Jim and Paul of Pfafftown. Also surviving are his brother, Franklin Gilstrap; and sister, Jewell Gilstrap, both of Farmington, NM. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation, Inc. 1501 N.W. 9th Avenue, Bob Hope Rd., Miami, FL 33136, or American Lung Association in your area.
Published on: Tue February 16, 1999