James F. ‘Bouncer’ Olinger, 85, Ferdinand

James F. “Bouncer” Olinger, 85, peacefully passed away surrounded by his family on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, at his home in Ferdinand.

James was born on July 29, 1934, in Ferdinand to Anthony and Freida (Boeglin) Olinger. He married Shirley Schnell at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Schnellville on Sept. 28, 1963.

James graduated from Huntingburg High School in 1952. After short employment at Ferdinand Furniture, Jim purchased the Standard Service Station, currently Circle A gas station, in 1953. In 1959, he purchased in partnership the Hoosier garage which remained in business until 1972. James began work at Uebelhor & Sons Motor Company in Jasper, as the body shop foreman and became General Manager in 1976. He retired from Uebelhor & Sons in 2000. After his retirement, he continued to attend car auctions for Uebelhor & Sons.

James was a member of Christ the King Parish-St. Ferdinand Church and its St. Joseph Sodality where he served as an officer.

James was a volunteer fireman for 32 years, from 1964-1996 with the Ferdinand Volunteer Fire Department. He is a charter and honorary member and received his fifty-year gold card lifetime member of the Indiana Firefighting Association in 2014.

He was a 40-year member of the Fraternal Order of Police, a charter member of the Ferdinand Jaycees and the Ferdinand Community Center.  James was a founding member of the Ferdinand Development Corporation where he served as President and Business Manager. The Development Corporation was instrumental in beginning the Industrial Park that was vital to the economic growth of the Ferdinand community. In addition, the corporation built the town’s first Fire Station, First Medical Building, Office Building, Library and SIRS, where they received recognition for their volunteer work involving the landscaping of SIRS. He was the last living member of the Development Corporation.

James started the Ferdinand Processing Company in 1988 in partnership with Paul Gogel. He was a member of the Chevrolet Society of Sales Executives Club. He served as a member of the Ferdinand American Legion Post 124 and Ferdinand YMI. James served nine years in the Indiana National Guard.

James was also a former member of the Forest Park Band Boosters and the Ferdinand Liniment League.

His hobbies include working the land with his Allis Chalmers and John Deer tractors, planting his garden which always included lots of green beans, tomatoes and turnips! He loved feeding the birds at home, grilling his famous BBQ chicken but most of all, spending time with his family.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Shirley Olinger of Ferdinand; two daughters, Marilyn Leonard and Becky (Brett) Schneider of Ferdinand; two brothers, Robert “Andy” (Nancy) Olinger of Ferdinand and Jerome “Jerry” (Julie) Olinger of Huntingburg; two sisters, Mary Lee Meyer of Mariah Hill and Norma (Del) Steinhart of Jasper; five grandchildren, Abbey (Brandon) Stevens, Carly Leonard, Miles (Victoria) Leonard, Avari and Addison Schneider; and two great-grandchildren, Andersen and Ellery Stevens.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Anthony and Frieda Olinger; a sister, Barbara (Olinger) Herbig; and two brothers-in-law, Joe Meyer and Jerry Herbig.

Funeral Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, February 21, in St. Ferdinand Catholic Church, with burial to follow in the church cemetery. Ferdinand American Legion Post 124 will conduct military gravesite rights. The district Volunteer Firefighters will have a memorial service Thursday at 7 p.m. at the funeral home.

Visitation will be Thursday from 2 to 8 p.m. and Friday from 7 to 9:30 a.m. at Becher Funeral Home in Ferdinand. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ferdinand Volunteer Fire Department or Ferdinand Community Endowment Foundation.

Online condolences may be shared at www.becherfuneralhome.com.


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