His Life


October 15, 1928-August 8, 2021

James Poland, “Jim”, passed away on August 8, 2021, at the age of 92. He was born October 15, 1928, in Gem, Kansas to Arthur and Lorene Poland. He was the third of seven children, and is survived by his brothers:  Kenneth Poland (Helen) of Gem, Kansas and Bernard Poland (Ruth) of Webster City, Iowa. His parents, and the following siblings and (spouses) preceded him in death:  Leo Poland (Wilma), Betty Horrell, Ilene Myers (Chuck), and Marilyn Gailey (Bill)

Jim graduated with a BA degree in Sociology from Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas, in May of 1950. He taught English and journalism at Onaga Rural High School, Onaga, Kansas from the fall of 1950, until entering the Army in March of 1951. (One of his former students actually lived at Thornton Place in Topeka, Kansas at the same time that Jim lived there.) During the Korean War, he was stationed in Germany and served as a medic. He received his Bachelor of Divinity from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City in May of 1959.

As a child, Jim attended a rural Baptist church in Gem, Kansas and he went on to pastor rural churches throughout Kansas his entire career. Jim’s first church was in Laclede, followed by churches in Hamlin, Spring Hill, Wakeeney, Ellis, Greensburg, Kingman, Onaga, and Harper.

Jim married Alice Burgess Beach (1916-1978) August 8, 1954 in Laclede, Kansas. After Alice passed, he married Ayline Knapp Johnson (1934-2004) November 19, 1978 in Shawnee, Kansas. He often commented on how wonderful both of these women were and how blessed he was to have had almost 25 years of marriage with each of them.

Jim is survived by nine of his eleven children: Tom Beach (Sadako) of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Norman Beach (Reta) of Kansas City, Missouri, Brian Beach (Roxanne) of Leawood, Kansas, Kent Hughes (Frances) of Onaga, Kansas, Beverly Benefield of Sharpsburg, Georgia, Susie Reed (Paul) of Raymond, Kansas, George Poland (Margaret) of Indian Hills, Colorado, Cindy Powell of Grandview, Missouri, and Scott Johnson (Barbara) of Maple Hill, Kansas. Oren Beach, daughter-in-law, Donna Beach, Richard Beach and son-in-law, Ron Benefield preceded him in death. Jim was very proud to have 46 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, as well as great great-grandchildren.

Jim loved people and was always interested in helping others. He liked to banter and tease with people, was a good listener and gave wise counsel. He kept a stack of cards and letters he received each year and used a few of them each day to pray for whomever sent the card or letter. When he pastored, and even as a layperson, he made it a point to visit rest homes, shut-ins and people in the hospital. Over the years, he was a lay member of Shawnee First Baptist Church, Greensburg First Baptist Church, and Maple Hill Community Congregational Church. He stayed involved in ministry in each by leading small groups, Bible studies, visiting people, and lending a hand wherever he could. Occasionally, he led Chapel at Topeka Rescue Mission in Topeka, Kansas, and he served on the board of the Richard Beach Evangelistic Association.

Jim enjoyed singing hymns and choruses and would sometimes lead “hymn sing” nights at churches where he pastored. It was not uncommon for him to lead the family in the chorus “God Is So Good” after prayer for a meal. In his final months of life, he enjoyed singing hymns from a devotional book, and when asked if he knew a specific hymn, he would immediately begin singing it with gusto.

Growing up on a farm, Jim liked growing things and over the years, he cultivated many large gardens and maintained beautiful flowerbeds. He helped process hundreds, if not thousands of quarts of produce, especially in the years he was married to Ayline.

In his 80’s, Jim designed a “gait belt” (used to help people when standing, or walking). He took classes at Washburn University to learn about getting a prototype made and how to market it, etc. It never got off the ground, but he wasn’t afraid to try and to learn new things in the process.

Always interested in staying fit and healthy, one of Jim’s favorite exercises throughout his life was running. In his later years, he participated in The Senior Olympics in Kansas and in other local community races. He once encouraged several of his grandchildren to join him in a 2-mile race in Maple Hill, Kansas. He rode his beloved Air Dyne on a daily basis for decades, even into his 90’s. For his 90th birthday, he ran 90 laps around the large dining hall at Thornton Place, in Topeka, Kansas, where he lived for several years.

Family was very important to Jim. Watching his grandchildren’s activities, babysitting grandchildren and great-grandchildren, performing marriages, counseling family members, caring for Alice and Ayline and his aging mother through various health crises, and praying daily for all his family were just a few of the ways he showed his love and commitment.

A scripture Jim shared often with people was Isaiah 41:10:

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Jim’s servant heart, compassion, faithfulness, and love for God impacted countless people. He will be sorely missed.

Services will be held, Sunday, October 17, 2021 and details will be added to THIS OBITUARY as they are available.

Memorials may be made to:

Maple Hill Community Congregational Church
104 4th St.
Maple Hill, KS  66507


Shelterwood  (For the Richard Beach Scholarship Fund)
3205 N. Twyman Rd.
Independence, MO 64058
Make checks to:  Doulos, Ministries, Inc.
Link to give online: