Cover photo for James C.  Chatelain's Obituary
James C.  Chatelain Profile Photo
1929 James 2022

James C. Chatelain

September 21, 1929 — August 17, 2022

James Curtis Chatelain died August 17, 2022 at the Waterford at Miracles Hills in Omaha, Ne. He was 93.

Jim was born Sept. 21, 1929, the son of Harold and Frances Chatelain of Fairbury, Ne. He attended Fairbury Junior College for 2 years before serving a 4-year hitch in the United States Navy. Jim was stationed in Japan before ending his tour with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Band. He often recalled his year-long residence in New York City following his discharge.

After earning a music education degree at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley, Jim held teaching positions at Washington, Ks., Wymore, Ne., and North Bend, Ne.

In 1962, after attending a United States Navy Band concert in Chicago, Jim confidently approached the commander about a position and was invited to a try-out in Washington, D.C. He landed a job on flute/piccolo and enjoyed a long career with the band, traveling and coming into contact with a number of dignitaries and celebrities.

To be near the military base and Nebraska relatives, Jim moved to Bellevue in 2000, residing there until moving to the Waterford in December of 2021. Jim continued his music, playing many flute solos, directing the church choir at Mosher Pilgrim Presbyterian Church in Omaha and singing in the choir at First Presbyterian Church in Bellevue.

Jim’s passion for classic movies was legendary. Starting as a little boy at the Bonham Theatre in Fairbury, his devotion to Hollywood’s Golden Age never faded. He had an extensive collection of 16-millimeter Reel-to-Reel, Laserdisk, VHS and DVD films. Having met and corresponded with a number of them, Jim reminisced in great detail about the movie stars he had enjoyed watching, referring to them as old friends.

Survivors include nieces, Jeanne (Frank) Townsend, Annapolis, Md., and Cherie (Gene) Fowler, Battleground, Wa.; and cousins, Peggy Lamb, Greenwood Village, Co., Ruth Dyerly, Dune Acres, In., Paul (Linda) Chatelain, Rising City, Ne., David (Kathi) Chatelain, Hemingford, Ne., John (Jean) Chatelain, Omaha, Ne., Stephen (Mary Jo) Chatelain, North Platte, Ne., Anne (Les) Hill, Branson, Mo., and Donald Epley, Portsmouth, Va..

Visitation: Thursday, Aug. 25th from 4:00-6:00PM at John A. Gentleman Mortuaries Bellevue Chapel. Funeral: Friday, Aug. 26th at 11:00AM at Gerdes-Meyer Funeral Home, 2414 H St., Fairbury, Ne. Interment: Fairbury Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to First Presbyterian Church, 1220 Bellevue Blvd. South, Bellevue, Nebraska 68005, the Fairbury United Methodist Church, 605 E Street, Fairbury, Nebraska 68352, or The Bonham Theatre Project, 519 E Street, Fairbury, Nebraska 68352.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James C. Chatelain, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, August 25, 2022

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

John A Gentleman Mortuaries - Bellevue/Sarpy County Chapel

3402 Samson Way, Bellevue, NE 68123

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, August 26, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Gerdes-Meyer Funeral Home

2414 H Street, Fairbury, NE 68352

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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