James "Jim" Brunel

October 24, 1950 ~ May 31, 2022 (age 71)

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James “Jim” Brunel, 71, of Caldwell, ID passed away on May 31, 2022 after a brief battle with Leukemia.
Jim was the youngest of three born to Bill and Marie Brunel on October 24, 1950 in Laramie, WY. The family moved from Wyoming to the Jordan Valley area to ranch when Jim was a baby. Jim started school in Nampa before moving to a one room school house on Opaline Lane. From there he went to the Marsing school district.
Jim was very active in sports competing in football, basketball, baseball and was also a member of the FFA. Jim began his rodeo career at a very young age with the encouragement of his older brother Billy. Billy took Jim to his first rodeo where he rode his first steer but ended up with a broken arm. His mother was not very happy about that but a broken arm didn’t scare Jim away. That first steer ride was the beginning of a long relationship with the western lifestyle of ranching and rodeo.
Jim graduated from Marsing High School in 1968. He then attended Treasure Valley Community College from 1969 to 1970 where he carried a full class load, worked 60 hours a week at a feed lot, completed his pilot’s license, and competed in the Northwest College Rodeo Circuit. Jim received a rodeo scholarship to Montana State where went to the Collegiate National Finals.
After college he started a company called Tuff-Lite making travel bags for cowboys and winter gear which was a great success.
Jim spent many years in the local and regional rodeo circuit winning countless rodeos in steer wrestling and bareback riding. He earned his PRCA Gold Card and later became a PRCA certified judge. Jim made many life-long friends in the rodeo world, who to this day, remain close.
In 1977 Jim met and married Debby Guthrie and they settled in Grandview, ID ranching. After a few years in Grandview, Jim and Debby moved to Marsing where they began their family with Hailey born in 1985 and Kaycee following in 1991.
Jim always had an eye for opportunity and never backed down from a challenge. There was no job he couldn’t do or figure out how to do. In the early 80’s he started Jim Brunel Construction building custom homes and commercial buildings throughout the Treasure Valley. His decisive nature, forward approach, and well-organized projects drew attention. Jim’s first venture into commercial construction was the Snake River Mart in Marsing partnering with Chuck Elumbaugh. Their partnership included Jackson Texaco Convenience Stores throughout the northwest.
After retiring from the construction industry he shifted his focus to his next passion, real estate
development and GOLF!
If you knew Jim you knew he loved golf and the friendships it brought him. Jim’s athletic prowess and always competitive nature often came out in the skin games he played with his long- time foursome of Jess Payne, Bill Jepp, and Tony Elordi. His family always knew how the game had gone by the way he walked in the door and said “Let’s go out to dinner”.
Jim’s support of his daughters came in many forms from coaching YBA basketball to cheering them on in pouring rain at track meets. He spent many hours shooting hoops and teaching basketball skills in front of the barn.
Through his hands-on involvement he taught them many life lessons including a strong “don’t quit” work ethic.
He was blessed with a wonderful family that included two sons-in-law, Kevin and Eric, of whom he thought so highly. His four grandchildren adored him and he loved them deeply. Jim always said he was “a blessed man.” Jim was a quiet Christian. He wasn’t an avid church goer but he was a devoted believer and had a great relationship with the Lord. His dinner time prayers weren’t always flowery but direct and with purpose. In his final hours he put it simply to the doctor “I have made my peace with Jesus. The way I see it, if Jesus can die for me the least I can do is die for Him”.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years Debby. His daughter Hailey Seward (Kevin), daughter Kaycee Cafferty (Eric), Sister Betty Eddy, Four grandchildren Kensie, Kaidence, Walker, and Logan.
He is preceded in death by his mother Marie, his father Bill, and his brother Billy.
The family invites those who knew Jim to attend his funeral service on June 8, 2022 at 11am at Deer Flat Free Methodist Church.


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June 8, 2022

11:00 AM
Deer Flat Church
17703 Beet Road
Caldwell, ID 83607

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