James "Jim" Cerha

April 2, 1950-September 22, 2022

James “Jim” Paul Cerha passed away at home in Lusk on the 22 day of September, 2022. A Celebration of Life for Jim will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Lusk with Father Ray Moss officiating. Military honors will follow the service. Jim was born in Cleveland, Ohio on the 2 day of April, 1950 to Harry Thomas Cerha and Marion (Gordon) Cerha. As a child of a military family, Jim grew up in many different places including Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, Washington D.C., and Germany. Jim graduated from St John’s College High School in Washington D.C. in 1968. He then attended the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was a member of the Academy Rifle Team, and graduated in 1972. After graduating, he began his Air Force career at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington D.C, followed by multiple assignments including Lackland AFB TX, Offutt AFB NE, Kirtland AFB NM, Andrews AFB MD and Langley AFB VA as the Chief, Hospital Laboratory Services.

.While assigned to Langley AFB, VA, Jim deployed with the 1st Medical Group in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Jim retired out of Langley AFB, VA after a 24-year career in 1996, as a Lieutenant Colonel and the Squadron Commander for the 1st Medical Diagnostics and Support Squadron.

Jim married Ardis “Ardy” Jean Meier in Lusk, Wyoming on August 30, 1998. Jim and Ardy met while both were assigned to the 1st Medical Group at Langley AFB. Jim had completed his private pilot’s license while at Langley and was a member of the base Aero Club. For their first date, Jim asked Ardy to go on a picnic and flew her to Ocracoke Island, NC for the day, and the rest was history. The couple lived at Travis AFB and Andrews AFB while Ardy was still on active duty in the Air Force. During this time, Jim kept busy as the web master for the Air Force Pharmacists Society. Upon Ardy’s retirement the couple lived between Lusk and Tucson, Arizona.

Jim enjoyed participating in a number of sports while on active duty including baseball, softball, bowling, shooting and golf. He continued these sports after his retirement until his health declined. Jim and Ardy also enjoyed camping, traveling, attending the Univ. of Wyo. football games and playing cards. 

Jim was an active member of St Leo’s Catholic Church in Lusk, the Lusk Elks Lodge B.P.O.E. #1797, Lusk Search and Rescue, American Legion Post 04 Lusk, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3511 Lusk, and the Association of Graduates US Air Force Academy.

Jim is survived by his wife Ardis of Lusk, two brothers Tom Cerha (Rose) of San Antonio, TX and Bob Cerha (Joan) of Montgomery, AL, and many nephews, nieces and great nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Pier Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.