‘Such an amazing man.’ Beloved school custodian passes awayPublished at | Updated at
RIGBY — A well-loved custodian who worked at a local school unexpectedly passed away earlier this week.
James Wilson, known as Jim, was 60 and from Menan. He worked at Jefferson Joint School District 251 for 30 years.
Family members told EastIdahoNews.com he had fallen. He died at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center on Monday, surrounded by his loved ones.
The Wilson family provided a statement and said, “We would like to thank all the nurses, doctors, and staff at EIRMC and all the hard work that was given. We also want to thank everyone for all the love and support, all the prayers, kind thoughts, and amazing stories.”
Family members added Wilson was an organ donor, a loving father, and a good man. He leaves behind his wife, Linda, and three daughters.
Rigby Middle School posted on Facebook about his passing and shared funeral information since he was loved by so many. He has been described as a down-to-earth kind of man.
“He loved the school. The school and his family were his life. He put in a lot of time. He was extremely dependable and always willing to step in … and help out wherever he was needed,” Richard Howard told EastIdahoNews.com, the principal at Rigby Middle School.
Howard said he had known Wilson for a while, long before he was a principal at the school. Wilson had taught a hunters ed class to his son years ago.
He added that he saw Wilson daily at the school.
“There was rarely a day where he didn’t stop by either my office or one of the other administrators’ offices just to check what was all going on in the school (and) give us a report of what was happening,” Howard said.
He explained after he had heard the news about Wilson’s passing, staff met together on Monday.
“It was a shock to the school. It was also a sad day for the school. It was a sad day for the other custodians and for the maintenance workers that had worked with him,” Howard said.
Wilson has been on the news before. He was surprised with the gift of hearing from Secret Santa in 2019 at Rigby Middle School. He had lost some of his hearing due to an injury. Secret Santa is a program that gives $1 million away during the holiday season to deserving people in eastern Idaho.
RELATED | School custodian surprised with the gift of hearing from a Secret Santa
Watch the surprise here.
Then, on May 6, 2021, a sixth-grade girl shot two students and Wilson at Rigby Middle School.
According to court records, Wilson was the first person shot. He was standing at a hallway intersection when the girl shot him in the leg. He fell, and a school counselor helped him into the counseling office, where other school employees administered first aid.
RELATED | Released documents shed new light on what happened the day of the Rigby Middle School shooting
Nobody was killed in the attack, and all three victims recovered.
Wilson lived in Menan his whole life. He graduated from Rigby High School. He was a hunter, bow, and trapper education instructor.
“He loved the outdoors and took every opportunity to be outside. He loved to spend time with his grandkids and would take them out to set and check the traps,” his obituary reads.
Click here to read more.
People in the community reached out to EastIdahoNews.com, saying Wilson was “more than a janitor for Rigby Middle School” and was “such an amazing man.” Others posted on Facebook saying, “What a huge loss for the Rigby Community” and, “Really great guy with a heart of gold.”
Wilson will not be forgotten by a community and school that loved him so much.
“When you got to know him, he really had a fun sense of humor,” Howard said. “The students that knew him well really liked him.”