James Stevenson Muir (“Steve”), 74, was born in Airdrie, Lanarkshire Scotland, on September 7, 1944, to Andrew and Isobel Stevenson Muir. Steve and his family immigrated to the United States when he was three years old. The family first settled in What Cheer, Iowa, but shortly thereafter moved to Oskaloosa, where Steve grew up, attended school and graduated from Oskaloosa Senior High School in 1962. After graduation, Steve joined the United States Air Force and served in Thailand during the Vietnam War. Following military service, Steve returned to Iowa and began working on the manufacturing line at the Maytag Company in Newton where he worked until retirement. Steve first married Roberta Lucas in Eddyville, Iowa, and they had one daughter. Steve met his second wife-the love of his life-Betty Smits, in Pella, Iowa. They were married in 1976 and lived for a brief time in Pella before moving to Newton.
Steve had difficulty maintaining relationships with friends and family. However, those who knew Steve on his best days recall his wittiness and God-given gift for extemporaneous rhymes about any person or subject matter. His nieces will remember his ditty: “When all of a sudden, from out of the blue, came the man in the new, little, blue Subaru!” Steve was generous with money, at times leaving large tips for servers, with a wink, a nod and a “Keep the change, Buddy!” He also enjoyed football, cuddling with his cats and driving a vintage Cadillac to buy a burger and fries at favorite fast food joints. No regular burger would do —Steve always went for the largest menu options “I’ll have the Oinker burger with the Amana ham, please, and give me a vanilla shake and some extra fries with that, Buddy!”
Steve’s nieces and nephews fondly remember weekends in their childhood, when he used to entertain them with his Lionel trains and by playing chess. A family favorite was playing Monopoly with Uncle Steve and Aunt Betty during the holidays. He invariably cheated, hiding money under the game board. When others would land on his properties, he would jeer with a smirk, saying “Thank you, come again!” as they paid the last of their make-believe fortunes.
Steve passed away at Mercy One Des Moines on May 8, 2019. Now at peace, he joins family members who preceded him in death: wife Betty, parents Andrew and Isobel, and brother Rev. William Muir. Steve is survived by a daughter, Stephanie (Dostal) Gibson, a step-daughter, Angela Dostal, a brother Alastair (Lynn) Muir, a sister-in-law Helen Muir and multiple nieces and nephews.
The family recognizes Betty’s friend, Jill Clapper, who helped take care of Steve after Betty passed away.
A graveside service will be held at 2PM on Monday, May 13, 2019 at Waveland Cemetery in Prairie City, Iowa with interment following. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials be given to: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Central Iowa, 416 Douglas Avenue, Suite 203, Ames, IA 50010
Johnson Funeral Service is honored to be providing arrangements for Steve's services.
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