James Alan “Jim” Schoonover, 84, died January 3, 2018 at Fountain West Health Care Center in West Des Moines, after a long battle with Parkinson’s. Jim was born February 2, 1933 in Des Moines to Fred and Margaret (Cole) Schoonover. Jim is survived by his children, Elaine Schoonover, Michael Schoonover (Lynn McBrian), and Allyson Anderson (Brian Anderson); his grandchildren, Amber Smith (Marcus Smith), Katelyn Schoonover, Caroline, Madelyn, and Martha Schoonover; great-grandson, Aiden Smith; and his sister, Eleanor Verwers.

Jim graduated from Colfax High School in 1950, after which he enlisted in the US Army, where he served as an MP in Bordeaux, France during the Korean War and was honorably discharged in December 1954. After military service, he studied at Simpson College and Drake University, where he met and, in 1958, married Molly Nell Gholson, to whom he was happily married for 53 years, until her death on January 12, 2011.

Jim had a rich and varied career. In the early part of his career, he mostly worked at technology companies, repairing electronics. Later in life, he sold real estate, proudly attaining “million dollar club” status at Iowa Realty.

Jim loved the outdoors, especially the mountains, and took his family on many vacations to South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado, to places his parents took him when he was a child. These trips inspired a love of nature in his children. He continued taking trips with Molly to their favorite spot, Winter Park, Colorado.

He was proud of being a ham operator. He taught ham radio, and communicated with other operators all over the world. He loved his electronic gadgets, and was an early adopter of emerging technologies, such as PCs, video games, mobile phones, and tablets. He enjoyed tooling around with his iPad.

Jim loved music, especially rock-and-roll, old country, and bluegrass. He played guitar and 5-string banjo. He was fond of sharing music videos on his iPad with the healthcare workers at the various places he lived. He had a nice voice and often harmonized beautifully as he listened to music.

Visitation will be held at Hamilton’s Southtown Funeral Home, 5400 SW 9th Street from 6 pm to 8 pm on Wednesday, January 10. The memorial service will be held at Plymouth UCC, 4126 Ingersoll Avenue at 2 pm on Thursday, January 11th.

Memorial contributions should be made to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (

Online condolences may be expressed at

Service Details

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Hamilton's Southtown Funeral Home
5400 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa
Thursday, January 11, 2018
2:00 pm
Plymouth Congregational Church
4126 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
Hamilton's Crematory
Des Moines, Iowa
Hamilton's Southtown Funeral Home
5400 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50315
(515) 285-3911

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