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James "Jim" Ryan

August 25, 2009
James "Jim" Ryan
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Obituary for James "Jim" Ryan

Leonard James “Jim” Ryan, Jr. was born on January 19, 1926 in Minneapolis, the son of Leonard James Ryan and Opal Ryan. He was the eldest of eight children born to Leonard and Opal. Jim thoroughly enjoyed his youth in depression-era north Minneapolis. He often recounted tales of his exploits in the city both on the athletic fields and sandlots as well as stories of youthful hijinks and mischief on the streets of Minneapolis. In his youth he caddied at Theodore Wirth golf course, delivered papers for the Minneapolis Tribune Co and worked as a vendor at Nicollet Park where he enjoyed watching the Minneapolis Millers more than he did peddling concessions, claiming he never missed a pitch. He attended Jordan Junior High and Minneapolis North high school through the eleventh grade. He was an All-City athlete in Minneapolis in baseball, football and hockey. He moved with his parents, brother and sisters to rural Grantsburg, WI after his junior year at North and graduated from Grantsburg high school in 1944 where he also excelled in sports. After high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served honorably until his discharge in 1946. In 1948 he met Margie Johnson of Trade Lake and they were married on February 28, 1949. Jim and Margie began their married life in the Frederic area where Jim worked as an apprentice baker. During those years two sons were born, Stewart and Tim. They later owned and operated the Holland Dutch bakery in Hudson from1953 to 1955. In 1955 they returned to Frederic where Jim began work as an accomplished baker at Myrtle Tromberg’s Frederic Bakery. In the 1940's and 50’s he was well known as a spectacular hockey player for the Frederic team. Two more sons were born in the latter 50’s, John and Greg. In 1961 Jim and Marge purchased a 140 acre farm east of Frederic where Jim launched his 30 year career at what he jokingly referred to as a “gentleman farmer” though he continued baking full time. Along with his wife and his sons they milked cows, raised beef cattle and poultry, and grew cash crop green beans. The farm was a paradise for an active family, was a mecca for wildlife and was also the place where Jim taught his sons to hunt deer and small game. In 1965 twin sons Jeff and Joel were born and the family of eight was complete. From 1963 to 1968 Jim and Marge opened their home to a foster daughter, Sandra Tessem (now Lundberg) who stayed with the family through her high school years. Jim enjoyed his work as a baker, but in order to better enjoy and appreciate time with his family as well as working the farm, he sought other employment and took a job at Stokely Van Camps in Frederic in 1967. He often referred to his work at Stokely’s as the best job he ever had. He was proud to have served as the Teamsters Union local shop steward during his years at Stokely’s. The Stokely plant was closed in the fall of 1982 and Jim chose not to take advantage of the opportunity to relocate himself and his family to Janesville. Instead, he secured employment as a custodian for the Frederic school district in 1983 where he remained until he retired from the workforce in 1991. Jim enjoyed a healthy and active retirement, although he and Margie opted to sell their rural home and some of their acreage in 1996, two years after their first-born son Stewart passed away. At that time they moved to the village of Frederic where they have resided since. During retirement Jim and Marge ventured throughout the U.S., and enjoyed some extended breaks from winter in Texas and Arizona, always making sure to be home in time for the opening of the major league baseball season. Jim always enjoyed conversation, particularly about politics, current events, hunting, and baseball and never tired of hearing what was occurring in the lives of his sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. Jim passed away peacefully in his sleep during the morning hours of August 25th, 2009 at the age of 83 years. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Charles; sister, Mary; son, Stewart. Jim is survived by Margie whom he adored as his wife of 60 years; sons, Tim (Norma) and John (Peggy) of Frederic, Greg (Margie) of Colfax, Jeff (Julie) of Prescott , Joel (Tracy) of Madison; foster daughter, Sandy Lundberg (Richard); 15 grandchildren, Jenny Rose (Ben), Cullen (Amanda) and Tadd Ryan; Erin, Mike (Britta) and Mary Ryan; Rachel, Megan, Maura and Tom Ryan; Brenna, Jack and McKenna Ryan; Conor and Maeve Ryan; 2 great grandchildren, Stuart and Maryalice Ryan; many nieces and nephews; sisters, Ann Ellen Clark, Betty Mae Hinrichs (Raymond), Karen Klinkhammer (Jerry), Ethel Deiss (Tony), and Lenore Ramsdell (Kenneth). A funeral mass will be held at St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Frederic, WI on Saturday, August 29th at 10:30 a.m. with Father Dennis Mullen officiating. Visitation will be held Friday, August 28th from 5-8 p.m. at Rowe Funeral Home in Frederic. Visitation will again be held on Saturday at St. Dominic's Catholic Church beginning at 9:30 a.m. and will continue until mass begins. Interment will follow at St. Dominic's Catholic Cemetery. Rowe Funeral Home of Frederic, Wisconsin was entrusted with funeral arrangements. For additional information, call 715-327-4475.

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