PARK HILLS – James Terry LaPlante passed away Saturday, August 19, 2023, at Mercy South Hospital in Festus, Missouri. He died of heart failure, having been put on hospice the day before. In his last hours he was surrounded by close family members. Kevin LaPlante, his only son, was by his side when he departed this earth.
James, or Jimmie, was born on November 5, 1936, in Los Angeles, California, to Harold Glenwood LaPlante and Kathleen Francis Mulligan. When his dad was drafted into the Army, Jimmie stayed with his mother. Upon Harold’s discharge, he and Jimmie returned to Flat River, Missouri, where they resided with Jimmie’s paternal grandparents. There, his beloved grandmother, Nellie LaPlante, doted on her first grandson and remained a loving, positive influence on Jimmie’s life. Jimmie attended school in Flat River. He became interested in boxing, practicing before and after school. He ultimately became a Golden Gloves Champion.
Harold was divorced by then, and ended up marrying Peggie Arlene Limbaugh of Esther, Missouri. Peggie had a daughter, Linda Darlene, from her first marriage. The family bought a home in Farmington where they had two daughters, Cynthia Renee and Lisa Anne, becoming a family of six. Peggie loved Jimmie as her own which continued until her death.
Jimmie enlisted in the Army and was sent to Fort Leonard Wood for basic training. Coincidentally, the barracks he stayed in was the same one his son and nephew stayed in when they enlisted. Jimmie served in Germany until he was honorably discharged.
He returned to the Lead Belt and became employed at the GM plant in St. Louis. He met and married Deanna Weber, his one true love. They settled in a new home in Festus and eventually were blessed with a son, naming him Kevin Glen. Kevin was the apple of his eye. He adored his son, was close to him, and remained this way until the end. Kevin was with his father until he drew his last breath. Kevin went on to marry Elena Martinez from Houston. They had two children, Alex and Maya, and a step-child Britnee who Kevin also doted on all his life.
Jimmie experienced challenges in his life. He ultimately had to take a full disability retirement from GM after suffering a back injury. Jimmie and Deanna divorced. Jimmie stayed in his house so he could be near Kevin as they shared custody. Jimmie became a loner, but not for long. He developed a new friendship when he added Zeus, his first Great Dane, to his household. Wherever Jimmie went, Zeus went with him. Zeus was followed by Duke, and lastly Louie, all Great Danes. They all three were buried with honors as befitting his best friends. During this time, Jimmie made it his mission to make sure all dogs within a five mile radius had adequate food and water, especially if they were chained and confined to their yards. Any animal that met their demise on the busy road in front of Jimmie’s house was given a proper burial.
Despite a difficult childhood and other disappointments in life, Jimmie made it his mission to love and care for animals who may have suffered neglect or lacked love. He was a friend to hundreds of animals. He took care of them with honor. There is no doubt his furry friends will miss him now that he is gone.
Speaking of friends, Jimmie felt passionate about certain civic matters in Festus. He never shied away from making sure his voice was heard at City Hall – often. Year after year his presence was felt by various officials as he made the argument against whatever disservice had been performed. There’s no doubt in this family’s mind that a large, collective sigh of relief was heard .once they learned of Jimmie’s passing.
It should be noted that Jimmie cried when he learned of Peggie’s passing as he commented she was the only mother he knew and she loved me like her own. As far as his siblings, we all considered Jimmie our brother and loved him very much and included him in family affairs. Jimmie was greatly loved and will be missed by many.
He was preceded in death by his father, Harold Glenwood and Peggie Arlene LaPlante; as well as Nellie and James (Bunt) LaPlant, his paternal grandparents, Woody Limbaugh, his maternal grandfather, his sister Linda LaPlante Gregory, and many uncles, aunts and cousins, too many to list, all who were very much a part of Jimmie’s life at some point in time.
Jimmie faced his last days on this earth with courage, choosing hospice versus another, quite possibly, unsuccessful surgery. He was 86-½ years old, the same age as when his father passed, as well as his grandfather. He told us he lived a good life and was ready to move on
Despite his family feeling he was cheated in some areas of his life, Jimmie dealt with his challenges by showing his deep love to his son and as many fur babies as he could find. His life mission turned out to speak to his character that many may not have known, but was evident nevertheless.
This father, son, brother, loved ones, and other friends can testify that he will never be forgotten, and forever loved by many.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made the Farmington Pet Adoption Center or Good Life Pet Rescue in Herculaneum.
Visitation will be 4 p.m. until time of service at 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 30, 2023, in the Coplin Funeral Home in Park Hills, Missouri.