Jim Grace, 1930 – 2019

Funeral services were held February 9 at St Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson for James  Martin Grace, 88, of Jefferson.

Fr Jim Bruch of Ogden celebrated the Mass of the Resurrection. Connie Skinner gave the eulogy. Sheilah Pound was soloist, accompanied by Lois Last. Honorary bearers were Daniel Grace, Cooper Skinner, KeAnna Skinner, Sarah Walker, David Moore, Ken Baker, Tyler Grace, Michael Walker, Melissa Barrett, Carson Skinner, Karim Hadi, Cole Grace and Dick Davis.

Casket bearers were Terry Skinner, Chuck Dunlop, Joe Murray, Jimmy Fischer, Jeff Wehrkamp and Mike Barrett. Interment was at St Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Jefferson. Military rites were provided by a United States Army honor guard.

The family was assisted by Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home of Jefferson.

James (Jim) Grace was born June 23, 1930, on a farm near Sioux Falls, SD. He was the sixth son of a family of six boys and one girl. Surrounded by his children, on February 5, 2019, he died of a broken heart perpetuated by the loss of his beloved wife and first-born granddaughter in 2018.

Jim completed 8th grade in a one-room schoolhouse and high school at Cathedral High in Sioux Falls. He started working at a very early age on a potato farm and crop co-op. In addition, as a younger student, he did work for area farmers during World War Two, as well as Muller and Rourke Ice and Coal Company during high school. As a young adult, Jim was employed by Milwaukee Railroad as a switchman in 1948. In 1957, Jim graduated from the University of South Dakota with a BA degree.

Jim proudly served in the United States Army. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant following officer candidate school at Fort Benning, GA, in 1951. He served two years with the 82nd Airborne Division in Ft. Bragg, NC. He retired as a major with the Iowa National Guard in 1990. Jim had many important jobs throughout his career in management and retired from the working world as general manager of Parker Industries in Jefferson in 1993. He served on the board of Genesis Development and Sheltered Workshop in Jefferson, as well as an advisory board at Iowa State University, and was a member of the Elks Lodge for 47 years.

On Nov. 1, 1952, Jim married Mary Ann Fischer at Ft Bragg. From this beautiful union came six children; Nancy Walker, Sharon (Chuck) Dunlop, James (Jim) Daniel (Lisa) Grace, Carol (David Moore) Grace, Colleen Grace, and Connie (Terry) Skinner. Jim was the absolute best grandfather to Tyler (Kara), Michael (Cassie), Melissa (Mike), Sheana, Sarah, Karim, Cole, Daniel, Carson, KeAnna, and Cooper and great-grandfather to Kya, Jude, Paige, Josie, Kylie, Autumn, Lilly and Walker.

Jim and Mary Ann had a love that was beautiful and they were married for 65 years before Mary Ann’s death in January 2018. They had many adventures and trips throughout their marriage, visiting friends and family with their children. Some of the most memorable excursions were spent in his home town of Sioux Falls, visiting family. Those were some of the best times with loads of laughter, love and reminiscing.

Loyal, Committed, Caring and Christ-loving; he was the perfect picture of loyalty. Beautiful, long and loving marriage to his girl. He was absolutely committed to his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, church, and employer. He attended many sporting events for his children and grandchildren with words of encouragement and loads of support. He served the Lord in many ways; altar boy, lector and longtime parish member of St. Joseph Catholic Church. He was committed to the Lord and did all he could in the way of prayer and kindness to help pave his way to see the Lord’s face. Jim was one of the gentlest, caring men you would ever meet and made all feel like family. He still had his best friends from Cathedral High and made every effort to meet annually to re-live the good ole’ days with his pals Pooch, Bosco and many others.

Jim had a loving childhood and was blessed to share his life with five brothers and one sister. Grateful for having shared his life with his remaining sibling,Mary and her husband Cecil Provence of Victoria, MN, sisters-in-law Pat Wehrkamp, Beverly Fischer and Terry Fischer, and brother-in-law Don Fischer and wife Janice; many nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents George and Josephine (Clennon) Grace; brothers George, Gerald, Eugene (Gene), John (Jack), and Francis; his loving wife Mary Ann; granddaughter Sheana; grandsons Todd, Michael and Matthew; great-grandson Brently; many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; and nieces and one nephew.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in Jim’s name to Greater Iowa Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation of Iowa, or the American Heart Association. A special thanks to Molly, Lisa, and Kristina from UnityPoint Hospice for the incredible guidance, care and support to Jim and his children.

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