Hoffmeister South County Chapel

1515 Lemay Ferry Road, St. Louis, MO


James Langston Etling Sr.

September 26, 1934June 26, 2020

James Langston Etling, Sr. of Arnold, Missouri passed away on Friday, June 26, 2020 at the age of 85. Beloved husband for 66 years of the late Janice L. Etling (nee Jones). Loving father of Geneva (Timothy) Neis, Kevin Etling, Renee (Mark) Birmingham, Cheryl Etling, Connie (John) Stout, Christopher (JoAnn) Etling, David Etling and the late James Etling, Jr. Cherished grandfather of 15 and great grandfather of 21. Dear son of the late Frederick and Pearl Etling (nee Goode). Preceded in death by 1 brother, 1 sister and 1 brother-in-law. Our dear brother-in-law, uncle, great uncle and friend to many.

James served our country in the US Navy on the USS Atka. During his service time, he was awarded the National Defense Medal. The U.S. Navy Antarctic Expedition of 1954–55 constituted the first phase of a planned three-year program that would lay the groundwork for American participation in the International Geophysical Year (IGY), which was to be a worldwide collaborative international effort to conduct scientific observations and research in the earth sciences, scheduled for 1957–58. Atka’s primary mission would be to evaluate the potential reuse possibilities of the existing Little America base camps and to scout out potential locations for new scientific stations on the frozen continent. The ship would also establish ground control points to help with mapping and collect geological samples and weather and oceanographic data. On December 1, 1954, famed Antarctic explorer Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd, USN (Ret.) representing the Secretary of the Navy, participated in departure ceremonies for Atka, telling the ship’s crew and scientific observers that they were about to embark upon a “spectacular undertaking” that would classify them as polar explorers. “The grand old man of the Antarctic” also read a message from the Secretary of the Navy Charles S. Thomas. Less than two hours later, Atka stood out for Balboa, Canal Zone, to begin the first leg of the expedition.

Visitation to be held at Hoffmeister South County Chapel, 1515 Lemay Ferry Road, St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, July 10, 2020 from 11:00 a.m. until time of service at 12:45 p.m. Inurnment Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital Neonatal Unit appreciated. Condolences may be offered at www.hoffmeistersouthcounty.com


  • Frederick Etling, Father (deceased)
  • Pearl Etling (nee Goode), Mother (deceased)
  • Janice L. Etling (nee Jones), Wife (deceased)
  • Geneva (Timothy) Neis, Daughter
  • James L. Etling, Jr., Son (deceased)
  • Kevin Etling, Son
  • Renee (Mark) Birmingham, Daughter
  • Cheryl Etling, Daughter
  • Connie (John) Stout, Daughter
  • Christopher (JoAnn) Etling, Son
  • David Etling, Son

  • Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital


  • Visitation

    Friday, July 10, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, July 10, 2020

  • Private Inurnment

    Friday, July 10, 2020


James Langston Etling Sr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Christopher Etling

July 10, 2020

When my mom was pregnant with me my grandpa would sneek her Hershey bars & bananas. He hid them from everyone else in the house, but her. He said she gets the good stuff because she was carrying his grandson. I am proud to call this man my grandpa. He’s the only real grandpa I ever had & am grateful to know him like I did. When I was little he would make me laugh by poking his false teeth out & saying he had magic teeth. When I got my first job, he would drive me to work when it was cold out so I didn’t have to walk. He’s always been a part of my life & I wish I spent more time with him before he passed. I’m so happy he got to meet my daughter Lucy. I love you grandpa, Rest In Peace. - Christopher

Paul Stasiak

July 9, 2020

I remember when I was little and we lived at the old Compton house. Grandpa was leaving the house out through the backyard. When I realized he had not giving me a kiss goodbye.
I ran to the back porch and yelled for him. I then put my head through the new metal porch railing he had recently installed, and gave him a kiss. My head got stuck between the railing and I began to cry.
Grandpa with Superman strength, bent the railing apart to release my big head. With all of his strength and cussing, he could not bend the railing back. The railing stayed bent and was always a reminder of the event.
I gave him my last kiss on Father’s Day 2020. I will always miss him dearly.
You will always be my “Superman” and I will always be your “Polish Prince.”
Love you Grandpa!

Marie Birmingham-Harlin

June 30, 2020

When I was about 15 we had a huge family reunion in Georgia. At night we gathered in one cabin, grandma (Janice) and grandpa danced to the oldies. It was awesome seeing the interaction between the two. I think they are dancing together again.....

JoAnn Etling

June 30, 2020

I thank God daily for his blessings. One of those blessings was Jim.
He was a father to me. Both he and Janice welcomed Adam, Blake & I into the family 18 years ago with open arms and never looked back. We never felt like in laws but just part of the family. We received a family that we love with all of our heart and so very blessed to be a part of. For that I will be eternally grateful.
I love you dad, will miss you both more than you know & I hope you rest in peace.
Until we meet again.

Krystal Stout

June 30, 2020

He always made sure to get the first bite out of your ice cream by telling you there was a bug on it! Love you grandpa!

Chris Etling

June 29, 2020

When we were children every Easter we would get chocolate Easter bunnies with missing ears. He would tell us the Easter bunny bit the ears off. That man loved chocolate. Some of his grandchildren suffered the same fate. Rest In Peace Dad. I love you

Mark Birmingham

June 29, 2020

My condolences to the Etling family on the passing of their father James Sr. I had the distinct honor to be his guardian on the Central Missouri Honor Flight #22. To my knowledge he is the one and only Navy personnel to have served with Adm Byrd that has been on the flight. The look on his face when he realized where we were headed is priceless. In all of the years following that day, every time I had the chance to meet with him, he reiterated his joy and fond memories of the flight. I will always cherish that time, I love him and will miss him dearly. Thank you James for requesting the Patriot Guard Riders to escort you to your final resting place, it is an honor to pay our respect to you.

Linda Gillis

June 29, 2020

Jim, Mark and I will always remember you and Janice. You guys gave us some good laughs. You will always be missed.

Stephanie Gibson

June 29, 2020

Walmart will never be the same. When I went into walmart to get my things I would always look for him and chat. I knew one day I would remember those memories but didn’t think it would of happen so fast. Grandpa you were loved by many and will be missed by so many more!

Marie Birmingham Harlin

June 29, 2020

I remember Grandpa bringing us donuts from the bakery in the morning after we had spent the night.