Jim "JJ" Jensen died unexpectedly on Saturday, April 12, 2014, which was the 28th anniversary of his first date with his wife Michelle.
Jim was born to Marvin and Ruth (Ganther) Jensen on March 6, 1964 and grew up in Necedah, WI. Jim attended Necedah Schools and was a gifted athlete in football, basketball and baseball. He loved a good competition. He made many lifelong friends during his childhood years and had plenty of stories and a few hair-raising adventures to share (but not with his children). Jim graduated in 1982 from Necedah High School and earned his bachelor's degree from UW-Stevens Point in 1986.
His love for sports carried over to playing on numerous softball teams into adulthood. True to his fun, loving personality, he made many more lifelong friends from the Mauston area and, in later years, from the Deerfield-Marshall area. He loved his position at short stop, but leg and ankle injuries from his youth forced him to stop playing recently. If he wasn't dirty from diving for a ball, he felt like he hadn't played the game.
It is through softball that he met Michelle (Richmond). They were married on October 3, 1992 and were blessed with three amazing children-Nick (18), Matt (16) and Maren (14) which he adored. Upon moving to Deerfield in 1996 to raise a family, Jim became a part of the community through the activities of his kids. He coached many basketball, baseball, and soccer teams through the years, coming home with hilarious stories about youth sports. He had great patience and tried to instill the lessons of hard work and humility in his players, especially his own children.
As his kids got older and started playing on school teams, he became a proud Deerfield Demon parent. He loved watching them play in all of their sports and will forever hold a place standing in front of the concession stand to watch football, sitting in the bleachers at half-court and along the first baseline chewing sunflower seeds. Jim awaited the Friday afternoon "coaches meetings" to discuss the week's sporting events. He was equally proud of his kids' talents in music. He watched many musicals but loved "Grease" the most and looked forward to solo ensemble each year. Jim was so proud of his kids and was a terrific father.
When he wasn't busy with school activities, Jim loved to escape to his second home, the "happy place" cabin in Tomahawk. There, he made great memories with family and friends snowmobiling, ice fishing, boating, jet skiing or just sitting on the deck watching the sunrise. There was always something that needed to be fixed which was his favorite excuse to go up north.
Jim cherished his family. He spoke to his parents daily, a little bit because he was a mom's boy but mainly because they were his role models in life, in his marriage and in his parenting. His greatest sorrow was the death of his dad in December. They are now together in heaven sitting on the deck or taking a snowmobile ride. Jim is further survived by his sister Rhonda Belmonte (husband John, children Alex, Greg, Andrea, Emily), brother Michael (wife Kim, children Max, Michael, Trey), sister Nancy Seebruck (husband Michael, children Michael, Samantha). As children, they had great times together camping in the Shasta throughout Wisconsin. This continued into adulthood when they bought motorhomes and traveled together around the country. Wherever Jim camped, it was sure to rain. As their kids grew older, he convinced them to take part in his adventures-the "journey" by snowmobile from Tomahawk to Necedah and the July 4th canoe portage and paddle trips on the Chippewa Flowage. Spending time together was most important, whether around the campfire or at his parents' kitchen table sharing morning coffee. The stories are endless and we will treasure those memories forever.
Jim is loved and survived by several uncles, aunts and cousins and many, many friends near and far. Jim was preceded in death by his father Marvin (December 28, 2013), aunt Eleanor Jensen (January 18, 2014), uncle Alan Ganther and his grandparents.
Jim was a great husband, father, son, brother and friend. His smile lit up our lives and his quiet kindness holds a dear place in our hearts. He was the man behind the scenes, doing the laundry, making the meals, baking buckets of cookies, stacking chairs in the gym, flipping hamburgers at the tailgate. Our loss is too painful for words, but our lives are so blessed because of the moments we had with him.
The family would like to thank the friends and strangers who assisted us Saturday evening. Special thanks to our dear friends Mark and Doreen Treuden, Kirk and Heidi Eilenfeldt, Roxanne Peterson, Jay Sugden, the ER staff at St. Mary's Hospital and Pastor Holly Slater.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 19, 2014, at St. Paul's Liberty Lutheran Church, Deerfield with Pastor Holly Slater presiding. Burial will be held at the church cemetery following the service. Visitation will be held at the church on Friday, April 18, 2014 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. with a prayer service at 4 p.m. and at the church on Saturday from 10 a.m. until the time of service. There will be a community luncheon to celebrate Jim's life at Deerfield High School, 300 Simonson Blvd, Deerfield, WI at 12:30pm following the burial service. All are welcome.
He was my father, coach and friend. From his endless snowmobile trips, to my endless sporting events we were there for each other. I just hope that one day I can grow in to the man that he was. He is loved and missed dearly.
Dad never missed anything that we were in. It didn't matter if it was a basketball game or a choir concert. I knew I could always look up in the stands to see his smiling face or hear his encouraging voice. I will never forget how much he gave up for me. His endless love and warming personality will stick with me forever. It was a blessing to be with such a great father and friend for 18 years. I love you dad.
Whether it was taking a fishing trip to the cabin for a week or going to one of my basketball tournaments, Dad was always there, he always had something to say. After a hard day, he somehow put a smile on my face and those are the moments I won't forget. I love you to the moon and back Daddy.
You are the love of my life, my rock and stronghold. Your love and support was unconditional and allowed me to be me. You are the story of my life, 28 chapters of my book. I will write many more for you to read, but I already read the last few pages so I know how the story ends. All my love.
Memorials may be made to the Jim Jensen Memorial Fund at the Bank of Deerfield.
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