James F. “Bouncer” Olinger, 85, Ferdinand

James F. “Bouncer” Olinger, 85, of Ferdinand, died Saturday, February 15, at his home. He was born in Ferdinand July 29, 1934, to Anthony and Freida (Boeglin) Olinger. He married Shirley Schnell September 28, 1963, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Schnellville.

James was a 1952 graduate of Huntingburg High School.  After short employment at Ferdinand Furniture he purchased the Standard Service Station in 1953. In 1959 he purchased in partnership the Hoosier Garage which remained in business until 1972. He then began work at Uebelhor and Sons Motor Company in Jasper as the body shop foreman and became general manager in 1976. He retired from Uebelhor and Sons in 2000. After retirement he continued to attend car actions for Uebelhor and Sons. He was a member of Christ the King Parish, St. Ferdinand Church and its St. Joseph Sodality where he served as an officer.

James was a volunteer fireman for 32 years, from 1964-1996 with the Ferdinand Volunteer Fire Department. He is a charter and honorary member and received his 50-year gold card lifetime member of the Indiana Firefighting Association in 2014. He was a 40-year member of the Fraternal Order of Police, a charter member of the Ferdinand Jaycees, and the Ferdinand Community Center. He was a founding member of the Ferdinand Development Corporation where he served as president and business manager. The Development Corporation was instrumental in beginning the Industrial Park that was vital to the economic growth of the Ferdinand community. In addition, the corporation built the town’s first fire station, first medical building, office building, library, and SIRS, where they received recognition for their volunteer work involving the landscaping of SIRS. He was the last living member of the Development Corporation. He founded the Ferdinand Processing Company in 1988 in partnership with Paul Gogel. He was a member of the Chevrolet Society of Sales Executives Club, Ferdinand American Legion Post 124, and Ferdinand YMI. He served nine years in the Indiana National Guard. He was a former member of the Forest Park Band Boosters and the Ferdinand Liniment League. His hobbies included working the land with his Allis Chalmers and John Deer tractors and planting his garden which always included lots of green beans, tomatoes and turnips. He loved feeding the birds at home, grilling barbecue chicken, and spending time with his family.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Shirley Olinger; two daughters, Marilyn Leonard and Becky Schneider and husband Brett, all of Ferdinand, two brothers, Robert “Andy” Olinger and wife Nancy, Ferdinand, and Jerome “Jerry” Olinger and wife Julie, Huntingburg; two sisters,  Mary Lee Meyer, Mariah Hill, and Norma Steinhart and husband Del, Jasper; five grandchildren, Abbey Stevens and husband Brandon, Carly Leonard, Miles Leonard and wife Victoria, and Avari and Addison Schneider; and two great-grandchildren, Andersen and Ellery Stevens.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by one sister, Barbara Herbig, and two brothers-in-law, Joe Meyer and Jerry Herbig.

Friends may call from 2-8 p.m. Thursday and from 7-9:30 a.m. Friday at Becher Funeral Home in Ferdinand. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to the Ferdinand Volunteer Fire Department or the Ferdinand Community Endowment Foundation. Online condolences can be shared at www.becherfuneralhome.com. The District Volunteer Firefighters will have a memorial service at 7 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Funeral Services at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Ferdinand Church with burial following in the church cemetery. American Legion Post 124 will conduct military graveside rites.