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James Leroy “Jimmy” Bilke

  • Birth 4 Jan 1945 Galena, Cherokee County, Kansas, USA
  • Death 5 Apr 2013 Joplin, Newton County, Missouri, USA
  • Burial Unknown
  • Memorial ID 107874130

James Leroy 'Jimmy' Bilke
04 January 1945 - 05 April 2013


James Leroy Bilke

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — James Leroy Bilke, age 68, passed away suddenly Friday afternoon April 5, 2013, at Freeman West Hospital Joplin, Mo.

Jim was born Jan. 4, 1945, in Galena, Kan. His parents were Verl Clyde and Sarah Mae (Bailey) Bilke.

He had lived in S.E. Kansas all of his life.

He owned and operated Bilkes Western Outlet in Baxter Springs, for 31 years, retiring Dec. 31, 2012. He was known worldwide as a felt hatter. He collected western memorabilia, much of which was displayed at his store.

He had been a member of the USTRC, a team ropers association. He had also been active at the Baxter Springs Saddle Club. He was an auctioneer and a trader. He had volunteered as a Police reserve officer for the City of Galena. He enjoyed raising livestock, especially cattle and horses.

Jim was a Vietnam veteran serving in the U S Army.

He was married to Linda France on Nov. 25, 1980, in Miami, Okla. She survives.

Additional survivors include one son, Jimmy (wife Crystal) Bilke; one step-daughter, Melissa Sanders Cotton (husband, James) Joplin, Mo.; three brothers, Ron Edward Bilke, Quapaw, Okla., Ralph Eugene Bilke (wife, Josie), Quapaw, Okla. and Jerry Dean Bilke, Riverton, Kan.; one sister, Verla Mae Sanders (husband, Stony), Quapaw; four grandchildren, Drew Bilke, Alexis Bilke, Tina Cotton and Scott Cotton; and three great-grandchildren, Addysen, Alexis, and Hayven Cotton.

Jim has been entrusted to Derfelt's Baxter Chapel, Baxter Springs, Kan., for cremation.

The family will be holding a memorial service at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at the House of Prayer, Riverton Kan. Pastor Audie Tash will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans in care of the funeral home.

On line condolences may be expressed at

Site has photo.

The Joplin Globe; Has photo.
Sunday, April 7, 2013


Family Members


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  • Created by: Orlena
  • Added: 5 Apr 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 107874130
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James Leroy “Jimmy” Bilke (4 Jan 1945–5 Apr 2013), Find A Grave Memorial no. 107874130, ; Maintained by Orlena (contributor 46627566) Unknown.