James (Jim) Durwood Leifeste, 93, met his Lord and Savior Dec. 14 peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family. Jim was born Aug. 13, 1925 in Castell, Texas to Erwin Charles Leifeste and Ruby Irene Smith Leifeste.
In 1949, after graduating from Southwest Texas State University, Jim moved to Cotulla to pursue his career as a teacher at Welhausen Elementary. During his first year of his career, he met the love of his life, Lois Collins. The two were married on June 9, 1951. In 1966, while raising their three children and driving a bus before and after school each day, he attended Trinity University to obtain his Master of Education and principal certification by taking night classes. The then went on to serve as the principal of Welhausen Elementary and then Amanda Burks Elementary. Throughout his career in education, he is fondly remembered and respected for touching lives and shaping the minds of many students, teachers and parents.
He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed tending to his yard and growing vegetables in his garden. He took pride in growing tomatoes from the same vine two years in a row and maintaining a beautifully landscaped yard. During his summer, Jim often enjoyed using his God-given talents of paintings and carpentry. He is also remember for his beautiful bass voice while singing Sunday hymns at First Baptist Church of Cotulla in his later years, he enjoyed meeting his pals at the local coffee shop. He cherished his grandchildren and great grandchildren and always loved a family domino game.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents; brother Harold Leifeste and sister-in-law, Mary.
He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Lois; his children, Laura Boatwright and son-in-law William Boatwright who he loving referred to as another son, James Kenneth Leifeste, and Deborah Gohmert, and his brother Donald K (Jo Ann) Leifeste, his nine grandchildren Brandi (Douglas) Liere, Amanda (Ryan) Johnson, Brett (Lindsey) Boatwright, Shelly (Mark) Tufts, Shara (Aaron) Peace, Laci Leifeste, Jayce Leifeste, Leah (Layton) Herring, Lindsey (Jake) Keeton, and 13 great grandchildren with one on the way. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews as well as his caregivers Aurora Chavera and Christian Alaniz, who he considered to be like family.