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James Rothstein grew up in Mobridge

James Vernon Rothstein was born to James and Lucille (Adkins) Rothstein on Sept. 7, 1939, in Aberdeen.
James passed away on Aug. 31, 2019, in Custer, surrounded by family.
He grew up in Mobridge and graduated from high school there in 1958. After graduation he joined the U.S. Navy and remained enlisted until 1962. During those years he “tried to stay out of trouble and keep the peace.”
In 1963 he married Carol Higgins and they had four children: James, Elizabeth, Mary, and John.
They moved to Rapid City and Jim worked for the Job Corps in Nemo, where he was a dorm supervisor for five years. The Nemo Camp was a federal correctional facility for young men. During the day, they performed labor for the United States Forestry Service and Jim was there to oversee the hours they spent at the dorms. He moved back to Mobridge and began a painting business, a career that that would span 40 years. Eventually, his business included painting, building decks, hanging drywall, and general construction.
In 1981 Jim lost his brother, Michael, to cancer. This was the impetus for Jim’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. This was when he moved to Custer.
He worked for the Youth Forestry Service for three years and then for a short time at a convenience store in Custer. This is where he met Joannie McNamara, his partner of 32 years.
Right around 2000-01, a childhood dream of Jim’s was realized. He recalled his father gathering the family into the car one day when Jim was quite young. They drove to a pasture where buffalo calves were penned, Jim was fascinated and that feeling never dwindled.
Tall Grass Buffalo was born out of that fascination. It started with a couple of buffalo calves and grew from there. At its highest, Jim had more than 35 animals. He used every part of the animal he could; there was jerky, snack sticks, summer sausage, fresh cuts, soap and lotions, fly swatters made with the tails – Jim even finished the skulls for sale.
The first six years of the operation, business increased by 24 percent each year. Fall was very busy, Joannie said. She and Jim attended “all the shows” with their jerky and other cured buffalo products. It was a lot of work, but she and Jim did it together and they had fun. Tall Grass was featured in Cooking Light magazine and he promoted healthy eating.
He was a staunch supporter of law enforcement and the U.S. military. His grandfather had been the Chief of Police in Aberdeen during the 1930s and 1940s. He had a great respect for Native American culture and history and worked part-time at Crazy Horse Mountain for many years.
He was once reprimanded for doing the right thing, something Jim attempted to do in every situation no matter whether he knew you or not.
“He stood up for everyone, he didn’t care who you were,” said Joannie.
Jim is survived by four children, James of Medford, Ore., Elizabeth, Mary and John of Phoenix, Ariz.; two brothers, David of Brandon; and John (Vicki) of Mobridge; eight grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held in Custer at the VFW at noon on Sept. 21. Rick’s chili, Jim’s favorite, will be served.