James “Jim” Ross Aiken, Jr. was born March 26, 1926 to James Ross Aiken and Marguerite (Sayler) Aiken in Pueblo, Colorado. He passed away peacefully on July 26, 2023 at the age of 97.
Jim grew up in Denver, where his folks owned and operated a drug store on Colfax Avenue. As a kid, he worked behind the soda fountain counter as a soda jerk selling sodas and ice cream. After graduating from Denver’s East High School in 1944, Jim enlisted in the Army. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
While working in Denver making caustic soda, he realized he needed to find a vocation that offered a better future. This led him to attend night classes at Westminster Law School. It was during this time, Delores, his sister, introduced him to Charlotte Cresto, a fellow sorority sister. Jim and Charlotte were married on August 25, 1950. They spent 72 years together.
After graduating from Law School, he and Charlotte moved to Cortez where she had been raised. His good friend and fellow law school graduate, Wade Dillon, also came to Cortez and together they decided Dove Creek needed the services of two hungry lawyers. It wasn’t long after opening an office they discovered there was not much need for legal work in town. The office was closed, and they both relocated their practices to Cortez.
During his career, Jim had stints as the Assistant District Attorney and the Magistrate for Mesa Verde National Park. In 1980, he was appointed as the Montezuma County Judge, holding that position until 1986.
When not working, Jim loved to hunt. Many days were spent big game and bird hunting. He also spent countless hours fishing the local rivers and lakes. He especially relished time fishing at Lake Powell. He enjoyed many hunting and fishing trips with friends.
In retirement, his time was spent golfing with some hunting and fishing mixed in. Together, he and Charlotte traveled with friends to Hawaii, Ireland, Mexico and Canada.
He was a member and past Exalted Ruler of the Cortez Elks Lodge, Number 1789, a Master Mason of the Cortez Lodge, Number 133, a 32nd degree Scottish Rite and a Al Kaly Shriner.
Jim was preceded in death by Charlotte, his parents and sister, Delores Kirkpatrick.
He is survived by his son, Doug (Kristy) of Cortez; grandsons, Chris of Cortez and Ryan (Rachel) of Fruita, Colorado and great grandson, Matthew James Aiken of Fruita, Colorado.
Private services will be held at a later date.