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James “Jim” Francis Sobkowiak

March 25, 2019 | 4 comments

James Francis Sobkowiak

May 19, 1929 – March 23, 2019

James passed into the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, at the age of 89, the sunny morning of Saturday,  March 23, 2019, at his home, with his family by his side.

James was born to Lillian and Walter Sobkowiak on their farm at Stoddard, Wisconsin.  He was the second oldest of 13 children.  His older sister, Bernadine, passed away at the age of 5 months.  Jim is survived by his wife, Irene, of 48 years and his children, Diana (Glenn) Gerlach, Lin Sobkowiak, Peggy (Jerry) Jorstad, David (Darcy) Sobkowiak, Mark (Kris) Sobkowiak, Suzan (Stephen) Harkness, Peter (Carol) Sobkowiak, Jim (Andrea) Curtis, Cindy (Charles) Wilson, 30 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, and 14 great-great grandchidren.  Jim is also survived by three sisters, Irene Hauser, Dorothy Pierce, and Anne (Bob) Manuel, and eight brothers, Aloysious (Mary), Robert, Charles, Daniel (Margie), Ronald (Sally) Bernard (Deb), Dennis (Linda) and Donald.

Jim was preceeded in death by his sister, Bernadine, his parents, Lillian and Walter, brothers-in-law, Gene Hauser and Tom Pierce and sisters in law Pat and Joyce Sobkowiak.

As a child, Jim lived the farm life with his parents and siblings.  At the age of 12 he was cultivating the fields with a team of horses.  At the age of 18, he went to work at the Pontiac garage as a mechanic.

On February 5, 1948, he married Doris Moe. Soon after they bought a farm in Gills Coulee.  There he made a great friend on the next farm, Earl Powell.

In 1954, Jim and Doris purchased a 160 acre dairy farm on Hamburg Ridge, above Stoddard and Chaseburg, Wisconsin where they raised their seven children. A year later, Earl Powell and his family moved to an adjacent farm on Hamburg Ridge.  Jim and Earl remained fast friends until Earl’s death in 2009.

Jim and Doris divorced in 1969 and he married Irene Curtis on June 12, 1971. Irene has two children who joined the siblings, making nine children who had many enjoyable adventures on the farm. Jim received many awards as an Outstanding Farmer and Resource Conservationist.

Jim retired from farming in 1990 and moved to LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

After he retired he and his brother in law, Bob, had a mowing and yard care business called Two Men Mowing (Reliable Bob and Reasonable Jim).  He also spent many years shuttling vehicles between car dealerships in the surrounding area.

In retirement, Jim enjoyed playing euchre, making jerky and sausage, canning, baking and cooking.  He was also a great maker of soups.

Traditions that Jim enjoyed were meeting with his siblings and their families at his folk’s home on Sunday evenings for a potluck family dinner together.  He also met with his siblings and a few close friends, every Thursday morning at Jacqlon’s Restaurant in Holmen for breakfast.

Jim’s family would like to thank neighbors on both sides of his home, John Helfrich and John Maxwell for all the work they did for Jim and Irene, keeping their yard mowed and sidewalks shoveled and many other tasks. Also special thanks to Denise Stinson, the staff at the Dialysis center, Hospice, Dr. Momont and all medical personnel who cared for Jim throughout the years.

A funeral mass will be held on Thursday, March 28, at 11:00 a.m. at St. James Catholic Church, 1032 Caledonia Street, LaCrosse.  A lunch will follow at the American Legion, Post 336, 731 Sand Lake Road, Onalaska, Wisconsin.  Visitation will be held on Wednesday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Coulee Region Cremation Group, 133 Mason St., Onalaska



  1. Diana Gerlach

    Oh my sweet daddy, I will miss you so much. You are the best dad a girl could ask for. I am happy for you that you are in the presence of Jesus and I will see you again when He takes me home. You were asleep, but just before the Lord took you home, you were talking in your sleep and ordering feed for your cows. I guess it was the last loose end you had to tie up before you left us. Then you awoke, saw the beautiful sunrise and you were gone. I thank you for all the years of love you gave to me. I will love you forever, Your Diana

  2. Linda Sobkowiak

    We will miss our beloved Jim. Thursday breakfast and all the Sobkowiak get togethers will seem so different without you there. Heaven got another angel. We are thankful you are finally free of all your pain.
    You will truly be missed. We love you. Dennis & Linda Sobkowiak

    • Lilly Sobkowiak Kaiser

      To my Uncle Jim,

      Remembering the conversations we had about the farm and making your homemade sausage as we ate supper at the fish fry. Remembering as a youngster my Dad, Aloysius taking us to visit you on the farm. You allowed us to ride the mini bike through the cornfields. As a city girl that was the highlight of my life and will never forget it.
      May you find peace and comfort in heaven. Until we meet again.
      Your niece,
      Lilly Sobkowiak

  3. Toni Wandling

    So sorry to hear of your fathers passing. Prayers to you all!

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