A Celebration of Life Service for James “Jim” Vellema, age 75, of Windom, will be held Friday, December 22nd at 1:00 PM at The Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Windom, with Pastor Paul Sajban officiating. Burial will be at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Windom. Military honors will be provided by American Legion Post #206 of Windom.
A time of visitation and gathering will be held on Thursday, December 21st from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at LaCanne Family Celebration of Life Center in Windom. Visitation will continue on Friday for one hour prior to the service at the church in Windom. James “Jim” Robert Vellema was born September 10, 1948, in Sibley, Iowa to the late William and Isabell (Bonsma) Vellema. He was raised in the Bigelow Christian Reformed Church. Growing up he had a paper route, mowed lawns, and worked for the janitor at the Bigelow Public School. He attended Bigelow Christian School through the 8th grade, graduating from Worthington High School in 1966. He worked at Campbell Soup Company in Worthington before entering the Marine Corps in January 1968. He proudly served his country in Vietnam for 13 months, as a radio operator, attaining the rank of Corporal. Upon his return home, he drove truck for Sather’s Cookie Company.
On August 8, 1970, he married Diane Reitmeier. That fall, he attended Southwestern Minnesota Vocational School in Jackson studying refrigeration and appliance repair. He then worked at Jungas Hardware in Mountain Lake. He started his career with ServiceMaster of Southwest Minnesota in Windom, owning the business from 1973-1999. He then worked as the maintenance supervisor at the Cottonwood County Law Enforcement Center for 15 years until retiring in October of 2014.
Jim and Diane were blessed with two daughters, Tina and Teresa. His joy came from them and their families. He was very proud of all of them. His passion was woodworking and he loved sharing those treasures with everyone. Jim was an avid bowler, loved to hunt and fish, was on a horseshoe league, played slow pitch softball and enjoyed going to his grandkid’s activities.
He was a longtime, dedicated member for the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Windom where he was an usher, trustee at the Church, and was on the Faith in Action Committee. Jim was a member of the American Legion Post #206, VFW and on the amateur baseball association board. He really enjoyed the trip to Alaska in 2009, with Gene and Shawn. More special memories were made on their family vacation to the Black Hills for Jim and Diane’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. Jim was one of 70+ veterans who were recognized on stage for the lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore.
Jim passed away Thursday, December 14, 2023, at home surrounded by his loving family.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Diane Vellema of Windom; daughters, Tina (Gene) Anderson of Lakewood, CO; Teresa (Shawn) Haken of Windom; four grandchildren, Austin (Amanda) Haken, Mitchell Haken, Jacob Anderson, Hannah Anderson; siblings, Stan Gleason of Natalia, TX; LaVon Dykstra of Bigelow; Linda (Lucius) Brooker of Lone Tree, CO; mother-in-law, Lettie Reitmeier of Bigelow; brother-in-law, Al (Connie) Reitmeier of Bigelow; sisters-in-law, Ardella Reitmeier of Brewster, Jan (Dave) Henningsen of Sibley, IA; many nieces and nephews; three Godsons, Troy Askeland, Jason Reitmeier, and Casey Warner; and many other friends and relatives.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, William and Isabell Vellema; father-in-law, Harold Reitmeier; sister-in-law, Lois Gleason; brothers-in-law Larry Dykstra and Jim Reitmeier.
Memorials will be directed to the Veteran’s Memorial in Windom for placement of a bench in honor of Jim.
Condolences and memories of Jim may be sent online to www.lacannefuneralhome.com.