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James “Jim” John Smith

July 10, 2019 | 3 comments

James “Jim” John Smith, 64, died on the morning of June 27, 2019, at his home in La Crosse, WI. His wife, Jeanne; daughter, Braunen; and family friend Marie Ågren were by his side. 

Jim was well known for his willingness to share with others the knowledge and experience he had accumulated throughout his lifetime. He made it a point to pass along this wisdom whether it be electrical, mechanical, precision shooting and gun maintenance, general life knowledge, or the volumes of humor and stories learned from his father and father-in-law. 

Jim loved spending time with family and friends. The family cottage on Sunset Lake in Iron River, MI, was an especially favored special place. Pontoon boat rides, hopeful fishing with hopes of catching, reading, lake staring, and cocktails were always part of the fun. Jim had only two boating rules: “Don’t get between the dock and the boat.” and “Drive it like you stole it.”


In 1983 Jim and Jeanne moved to La Crosse, WI, to establish Advanced Electric Equipment Service, Inc., which provides industrial electrical/mechanical repair services to manufacturers, utilities, and businesses in the La Crosse area. On December 31, 2018, Jim and Jeanne sold Advanced Electric Equipment Service, Inc. to their longtime employee Rob Kranig. They appreciated Rob’s interest in continuing what they had started and providing a smooth transition for employees and customers.

Jim and Jeanne were active members of EASA (Electrical Apparatus Service Association) on both a regional and international level. Jim served as the President of the EASA North Central Chapter 2002-2006, on the EASA Executive Board 2007-2016, and as the EASA International Chairman 2016-2017. He valued his time spent at EASA functions and said he never left a meeting or convention without learning something new or learning something about himself. 

A lifelong motorcyclist, Jim’s first motorcycle was a 1967 Honda 305 Scrambler that he enjoyed repairing and rebuilding. His newest, a BMW 1200RT, was a favorite and he and Jeanne enjoyed riding it throughout the Coulee Region. One notable occasion was when he and a group of friends rented Harley’s to drive around Maui, HI, in the early 1990s. When one of the motorcycles broke down, Jim, with his great troubleshooting skills, identified the electrical problem and repaired it with chewing gum and a wrapper. “McGyver ain’t got nothing on you,” was a sentiment shared by many people that Jim worked with to solve their electrical or mechanical problems.

People were often amused to learn that Jim’s first business venture with Jeanne, in the early 1970s, was managing games for Blomsness All Star Amusement and owning a “Shoot Out the Star.” They traveled throughout the Chicago area doing festivals, shopping center openings, and church fund raisers. It allowed them to develop their people skills and meet many memorable people along the way. Their converted Chevy school bus, which served as their home, was always recognized on the lot.

Jim was a life member and past President of the “Dawn’s Gone Hunting Club” in Coon Valley, WI, where he enjoyed walking the hills, shooting guns, drinking beer, making lifelong friendships, and exploding giant pumpkins with homemade explosives. His powerful, exuberant laugh that lit up the whole hunting camp will be sorely missed and never forgotten.

Jim was born in Iron River, MI, on November 12, 1954, to Elaine and Lowell Smith. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne Smith, and his daughter, Braunen Smith, both of La Crosse, WI. He is also survived by his brother, Michael (Sharon) Smith of Perdido Key, FL; his sister, Dawn (Vince) Hundt of Coon Valley, WI; sisters-in-law: Judy Hansen of Fenton, MI, Janis (Bill) Book of Marquette, MI, and Joanne (George) Schafer of Clio, MI; many loved nieces and nephews; and many grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Elaine and Lowell Smith, and his parents-in-law, Andrea and Ray Hereau.

Private family services will be held at a future date. Desired memorial donations can be made to PanCAN.org.

Jim touched and uplifted many lives with his skills, laughter, and love. Thank you, Jim. It is an honor to have known you.



  1. Bradley Heineck

    Many memories of good conversation, hunting adventures together and hard but memorable work hours I had with Jim. His family, friends and community are better from Jim’s time spent with all.

    God Bless.

    In honor of my good friend.

    Brad Heineck

  2. Dave Gates

    My condolences to the family. Prior to retirement I worked with Jim for many years and he made it such a pleasure. What a great guy.

  3. Melissa schafer

    Love you aunt Jeanne !! What a special person he was in life ..
    Wish I could be here with you during this time .. but I’m thinking and praying for you !!❤️

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