Jim Taber passed away peacefully at age 98 ½ at home, on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Born in Okmulgee, OK October 11, 1919 to his parents Loy and Eula Hays Taber.
He is survived by daughter, Mary Lyn Livingston; and son, Cliff I Taber and his wife, Nancy Wood Taber.
He was preceded in death by his father Loy, mother Eula; brother, Clifford; and his son, Billy; sister, Pauline; and her daughter, Carolyn; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. He was the last of his generation of cousins to pass on both the Hays and Taber side of his family.
He had two great loves in his life who preceded him in death. His first wife Bernice I Burch Taber and mother of Mary and Cliff, was the love of his life and they shared many hopes and dreams after WWII which were shattered by her heart disease. They met on a blind date in Gallup, NM where he was working for AT&T installing phone lines and Bernice was teaching math at the Indian School there. They moved to Albuquerque where they made plans for their lives, family and business. Everything was going fine, they had just finished the add-on to the house, the business was growing, the family was happy when dreams were shattered by her heart disease. She passed away in 1964. He found another heart to love and married Ruth Chapman Taber. They supported each other through sickness and health, had adventures exploring the country, entertaining at the cabin and travels in a motor home. They united in a love that had the benefits of growing old together.
Jim was proud of his WWII service in the Army-Air Force with the 51st Air Service Squadron as an aircraft electrician. He had tours in all 3 war theaters, Europe, Africa & Pacific. He truly lived history. He never would tire of telling the events he saw, the changes they made on planes, the changes they saw in history being made in front of them. When we checked the history books it delighted us to prove him right.
He started his first A&W Root Beer Drive-In in 1948 on the corner of W Central and Rio Grande. A Root Beer in a frosted mug was 5Ȼ, fries were 5Ȼ too, hamburgers were 10-15Ȼ. Soon they outgrew the lot, a new baby boy was added to the family and the NW 4th St store was built with his own hands. By the mid 60’s Jim had established 5 locations throughout the city & Santa Fe. He also started a supply company and an equipment service company to keep his drive-in and other restaurants owners up and running too. He truly lived the American Dream. By the early 60’s there was a burger family and his own children were growing. Prices increased, sizes increased, and the love of ice cold Root Beer was still popular. After school and the weekends, or after any game the Drive-In’s were the teenage place to be. Mr. Taber supported the local high school, Valley High and was frequently seen at football and basketball games, knowing the teams and players by name. Slowly the stores were sold and the 4th street store remained open with the help of his son, Cliff until he retired.
He served in the Masonic Lodge at a high level through the 70’s. And was also active in the Shriners.
After retirement he spent most of the year at his beloved cabin at Vallecito Lake, CO. Jim and Ruth loved to travel in their motor home in the winter months. Dad said it was peaceful living. They enjoyed sharing Jim’s special chili recipe or ribs and of course hamburgers were always a favorite. Family or friends were always welcomed. Dad loved fishing, sightseeing and showing friends around. He knew the local history better than almost anyone. He always said that he was happiest at the cabin. Throughout the years he made lasting friends there.
The last few years he was unable to spend time at the cabin, something he missed every day. He had many friends at Three Fountains Apartments and was known as a good Mexican Train Dominoes player.
Dad will always be remembered as a man with a giving heart, who loved his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.
Funeral service will be held Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at Chester T. French Memorial Mausoleum Chapel at Sunset Memorial Park, 924 Menaul NE, Albuquerque, NM with graveside military honors to follow.