Cover photo for Jim Lemon's Obituary
Jim Lemon Profile Photo
1978 Jim 2021

Jim Lemon

February 16, 1978 — August 17, 2021

Verona - Jim Lemon, age 43, passed away peacefully the morning of Tuesday, August 17 with his wife, Kate, by his side. He had courageously battled stage IV metastatic pancreas cancer for nearly two years.

Jim was born on February 16, 1978, in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Elmer and Betty (Bendt) Lemon. He graduated from Madison West High School where he competed in both golf and basketball. Jim led his golf team to a high school state championship, where he was also the individual champion in 1995. In 1996 the team earned runner-up in the State tournament as Jim also earned runner-up as an individual. Jim was recruited by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Head Golf Coach Dennis Tiziani and earned a golf scholarship. To say Jim was an accomplished golfer is an enormous understatement. During his time in college, Jim was on the traveling varsity team for four years. He was the WSGA Amateur Match Play Champion back-to-back in 1999 and 2000, and later in 2000, he went on to win the Badger Invitational. He was instrumental in four UW team tournament championships: 1998 Iowa Invitational, 1998 Beth Page Invitational, 2000 Wisconsin Invitational and 2000 Ohio Invitational. He was a team captain from 1998-2001 and also served on the student-athlete advisory board from 1999-2000. He earned Academic All-Big Ten Honors all four years and one of Jim’s proudest achievements was becoming the second UW men’s golfer in school history to become an Academic All-American in 2000 and 2001. After graduating in 2001 with a double major bachelor’s degree in accounting and operations and information management, Jim pursued professional golf as his career. Jim qualified for the PGA Tour Canada where he competed in more than 40 tour events and accomplished twelve top-25 tournament finishes. He carded more than 150 birdies and shot a career low 64 in tournament play. He was a member of the PGA Tour Canada from 2003-2015 where he also later served as a Player Director to the Canadian Tour Board from 2009-2013, another very proud moment for Jim. He competed in the second stage of the PGA Tour qualifying tournaments from 2005-2009. Some of the most noteworthy tournaments Jim played in were the 2008 Nationwide Tour Midland Classic, the 2007 PGATOUR US Bank Championship, the 2003 & 2005 Nationwide Tour LaSalle Bank Classic, the 2005 Nationwide Tour Louisiana Open and the 2003 PGATOUR John Deere Classic, where he played a memorable practice round with current PGA golfer, Vijay Singh. However, Jim’s most memorable round of golf was playing Augusta National Golf Course with a close family friend last fall of 2020. He said it was far beyond what he ever imagined and was a dream come true. Jim also loved golfing with family and friends at their golf club, Nakoma, in Madison, Wisconsin where he holds 10 Club Championships. As if that wasn’t enough, if you asked Jim how many hole-in-ones he had, he would humbly tell you, “either 12 or 13, I lost track”. He was that good. Even better, he was an all-around great person off of the golf course too.  Every person who knew Jim described him as honest, considerate, loyal, ambitious, courageous and authentic. Jim was a true gift to the people in his life.

Jim would credit much of his success on and off the golf course to the coaches in his life. He always said his first coach was his late Father, Elmer Lemon. Elmer and Betty taught Jim how to be a competitor and how important it was to surround yourself with good people. Before teeing off, Jim’s mom would remind him to keep his chin up, a smile on his face and have a bounce in his step! Jim also credits the late Allan Mitchell Jr. (former Nakoma Golf Club Professional), the late Roger Wiebe (former Madison West High School golf coach) and Dennis Tiziani (former UW golf coach). Certainly, there were additional coaches in Jim’s life outside of golf, and he frequently talked about how much he appreciated all of their friendships and mentorship.

When Jim retired from playing professional golf in 2011, he pursued a career as a financial advisor where he met his now brother-in-law, Benjamin Wierwill. Jim later joined his best friend Chris Tierney at Merrill Lynch where he was the Senior Financial Advisor and Vice President. He and Chris formed a powerhouse team to help their clients achieve their dreams. Many of Jim’s clients were influential with his prior accomplishments, and he felt great satisfaction that he could in turn help them achieve their financial aspirations. He enjoyed his work so much that it was hard for him to tell if he was working or playing, sound advice passed down from his father. Jim continued to play in a few golf tournaments each year and found success again in 2013 when he won the Wisconsin State Open. Naturally, credit for that win went to Kate since they had been dating.

Jim married Kathryn (Kate) Wierwill on May 16, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin. Since Kate is also a former UW-Madison golfer, there was a friendly competition on the golf course, mostly for who was cooking dinner that night. They also enjoyed many golf vacations together, including their visits with friends in PGA West. Jim and Kate built a home in 2017 and added a son, Maxwell, to their family in 2019. One of their favorite things to do as a family was to play a few holes of golf on Friday nights at Nakoma and enjoy dinner together. Jim and Kate had an unshakeable bond that carried them through the recent challenges of fighting cancer. They made cancer work around their life as a young family, not the other way around.

The most important things to Jim, were spending time with family and helping others.  He and his dad would spend many hours at the family farm in Monticello, WI tinkering with projects, mowing Jim’s golf range, pheasant hunting with friends and watching Badger games. Jim also enjoyed woodworking and made many pieces of furniture in his workshop at the farm. He loved being a brother and uncle and has fond family memories at the farm with Kate, Max, his mom, sister (Jane), brother-in-law (Daniel), nieces and nephews riding tractors through the wildflower paths, hunting, sledding and talking about future plans for the farm that has been in the Lemon family for 150 years. Jim’s father Elmer was integral in the Monticello Foundation and Jim upheld the dedication so not to forget his roots. Jim’s sister Jane, now carries out the legacy of the Foundation as an active board member.

Of all of Jim’s achievements, his most proud moment was becoming a father to Maxwell. His son was the driving force and light during Jim’s battle with cancer and even when Jim wasn’t feeling well after treatments, he would still make every effort to play with Max. Jim enjoyed introducing Max to his hobbies and interests including cars (Dada’s broom brooms), using his woodworking tools, mowing the lawn, driving tractors, caring for the pheasants, playing golf and basketball and snuggling with their 7-month-old puppy, Koko.

Jim always believed that life is not about what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens.

Jim is survived by his two-year-old son Maxwell Elmer Lemon, his wife Kate (Wierwill) Lemon, mother Elizabeth (Betty) (Bendt) Lemon, sister Jane (Daniel) Tereba, nephew Brandon (11), niece Melanie (9), nephew Logan (7), brother-in-law Benjamin (Olivia) Wierwill, nephew Baer (8), niece Dorothy (4), mother-in-law Rose Wierwill, father-in-law Bryan Wierwill, many aunts, uncles and cousins and The Lemon Brothers, Kyle (Michelle) Pitzner, Chris (Stacie) Tierney, Brent (Lisa) Conwell, James Caulkins, Charlie (Karen) Burch and Josh (Sarah) Pelletter. He is preceded in death by his father.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. MARIA GORETTI CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5313 Flad Ave., Madison on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, at 1:00 pm with Father Jay Poster presiding. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the church on Wednesday from 9:00 am until the time of Mass.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Lemon Brothers initiative which benefits the UW Carbone Cancer Center Innovation Fund towards research and a cure for cancer. www.classy.org/fundraiser/3152028

Cress Funeral & Cremation Services

3610 Speedway Road

(608) 238-3434

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jim Lemon, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

9:00am - 1:00 pm (Central time)

St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church

5313 Flad Ave, Madison, WI 53711

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Mass

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church

5313 Flad Ave, Madison, WI 53711

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Interment

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)

Resurrection Catholic Cemetery

2705 Regent St, Madison, WI 53705

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 497

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree