- Ada, Oklahoma

January 4, 2013

James “Jim” Lisle Delaplain

The Ada News

River Falls, WI —  

A memorial service for James “Jim” Lisle Delaplain,  83, River Falls, was Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, at Unitarian Universalist Society Church of River Falls.

Mr. Delaplain died Dec. 26, 2012, at his home in River Falls. He was born Feb. 12, 1929, in Seminole, Okla., to James and Zuleme Delaplain.

He grew up in the oil fields of Oklahoma and graduated from McLish High School in Fittstown, Okla.s, as co-valedictorian in 1947. After high school, he attended the University of Oklahoma at Norman, Okla.,, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology. Mr. Delaplain also earned a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and ABD in English at the University of California at Berkeley. He taught English at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee prior to teaching for decades at the University of Wisconsin River Falls, where he was an emeritus professor of English and distinguished teacher. At the end of his teaching career, he was appointed as an English professor at the University of Beijing in China. After a full career as a teacher, he served for several years as an usher at the Ordway in St. Paul, Another equally passionate interest was to further the cause of the Democratic Party in the River Falls area. Several times he served as treasurer of congressional campaigns for the Democratic Party in River Falls area. He was an active member of several book clubs as well as a poetry group. 

He attended the Unitarian Universalist Society Church in River Falls.

While at the University of Oklahoma, Mr. Delaplain and his wife-to-be Mary Kathryn Hickman were active in the desegregation movement, advocating for the first African-American student who attended the university, George W. McLaurin, whose right to pursue an equal education was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1950. His stand against injustice led to a long history of participating in various protest events dating to the Vietnam War, and extending to the unfair treatment of Palestinians by Israelis. The early protest led to experiencing tear gas; the later protest led to his physical beating by Israeli settlers. He served on a Witness for Peace trip to South America, and Vietnam, among other places.

He lived for several months in Paris during his first year of marriage.

Mr. Delaplain married the former Mary Kathryn Hickman in 1952 in Whitebead, Okla. She died in 2000.

They had eight children: Stephen L. Delaplain of St Paul, Minn.; Athena R. Jones of Washington, D.C.; Laura Z. Delaplain of Norwell, Mass.; James Alfred Delaplain (deceased); Kathryn M. Woods of Norman; Theresa R. Delaplain of Fayetteville, Ark.; James W. Delaplain of Plymouth, Minn.; and Emma Rose Delaplain (deceased). 

Survivors also include 11 grandchildren, Kathryn Patton, Becky Rohrer, Gordon Jones, Nathan Delaplain-Zook, Joshua Delaplain-Zook, Rachel Woods, Tara Mueller, Erica Mueller, Alex Mueller, Jamie Bengtson-Delaplain and Nicholas Delaplain, two great-grandchildren, Kade and Charlotte Patton; sisters, Dorothy Escamilla, Carol Bennet and Linda Stephens; brothers, Donald Delaplain and Paul Delaplain; spouses of his children and grandchildren, Audrey Delaplain, Gordon Jones, Glen Woods, Bob Mueller, Marilee Bengtson, Blake Patton, and Daniel Rohrer; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by two children, Alfred and Emma Rose; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James L. Delaplain Sr. of Stonewall, Okla.; Mary Kathryn’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Hickman of Pauls Valley, Okla.;  and sister Eunice Graham of Midland, Mich.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to Witness for Peace or the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services of River Falls.