James

James (Jim) P. Dunham

May 1, 2016

James (“Jim”) Patrick Dunham, 86, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 1 at Eagle Crest South in La Crosse.

 

Jim was born on February 3, 1930, to Joseph (“Jack”) and Irene (Teff) Dunham in La Crosse. He was the oldest of 10 children. Jim attended St. James Catholic Elementary School and graduated in 1948 from Aquinas High School, where he was a standout athlete lettering in baseball.

 

On October 21, 1950, he married the love of his life, Marilyn Dummer, at St. James Rectory in La Crosse. In November 1951, he joined the US Air Force, and was stationed at Shaw AFB in Sumter, South Carolina and then Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska. He played baseball on multiple teams with the Air Force throughout his service, including a 1955 championship team in Anchorage.

 

He was hired by the City of La Crosse in December 1956 as a police officer and promoted to detective in 1967 and then leading the detective bureau as its chief for 10 years. He was proud to be a police officer and was dedicated to serving and protecting his community. After retiring from the department in March 1985, Jim worked as a private investigator.

 

Jim was an avid outdoorsman who dearly loved to fish, especially for walleye. One of his favorite places to be was in his boat on the water; an experience only made better when his son Terry, grandchildren, brothers, friend or a neighbor was by his side. The baseball field was another favorite place of Jim’s. He played for many local teams (American Legion, AFL, Mohawks, Bangor), managed the 400 Club men’s softball team, and even started the police department’s first little league baseball team in 1966. His love of baseball took on a new dimension when his children, and later grandchildren, took up the game. Jim never missed an opportunity to be in the stands cheering on his loved ones, near or far.

 

Jim and Marilyn enjoyed their time with their kids when they were little visiting many resorts in the Hayward, Rice Lake and Chetek area. In later years they vacationed several times at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Marilyn, and their four children: Terry (Kathy) Dunham, Lori Stuckey, Karen (Tony) Lyga, and Diane (Duane) Tolander; his grandchildren Anthony (Megan) Dunham, Emily (Brad) Hubert, Amber (Chris) Haines, Sarah, Kendra and Zach Stuckey, Caitlin (Eric) Wilson, Trevor Lyga, Alison (Jacob) Welch, Nick (Melissa) Strauss, three step-grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, seven step great-grandchildren and one great-grandson due in September.

 

Jim is further survived by his brothers, Joe (Cecilia) Dunham, Thomas “Dan” (Candy) Dunham, Robert (Cindy) Dunham, Paul (Linda) Dunham; sisters Helen Hall, Carole (Ken) Borsheim, Jackie (John) Tischer and Sue (Bob) Kjos, brother-in-law Dick (Lillian) Dummer, sister-in-law Betty Burdoin and many special nieces and nephews.

 

He was preceded in death by his father in 1964 and his mother in May 2015, brother Jerry Dunham, in-laws, Herb and Mae Dummer, and brothers-in-law Herb Dummer, Jr., and Bud Hall.

 

Visitation will be Wednesday, May 4, 2016, from 5-7pm Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home 1501 West Avenue So. La Crosse with a Rosary at 7:15pm. Funeral Mass will be held 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 5, 2016, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church 130 Losey Boulevard So. Reverend Peter Raj will officiate. Family and friends may call at the Church on Thursday from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass. Burial with military honors By American Legion Post 52, will be at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery Hwy County B. La Crosse.

 

Memorials may be directed to Eagle Crest South (Bethany Lutheran Homes) or Gundersen Medical Foundation.

 

The family would like to thank the staff at Gundersen Hospice, Eagle Crest South and Dr. Jack Udell and Jean Frank, RN for their kind and compassionate care of Jim.

 

In a Tribune article published upon his retirement, a colleague described Jim as “very honest, the kind of individual you’d trust with anything, including your life.” His family will miss his steady, kind heart; his smart sense of humor; his gentle spirit that nurtured his beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren; his stubborn will and independence; and everything else about him.

 

 

 

“When my time is up, just put me in my boat, and let me drift into the sunset.”

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