Jim was born on April 6th, 1939 in Waunakee, WI in Westport Township, and passed away on November 10th, 2020 at the age of 81. As a youth, he attended Crossing School for most of grade school but also Lodi for one year. Jim graduated from Waunakee High School in 1958, where he had played football and track and was on one of the first track teams at Waunakee in 1958. Jim was a very gifted football player. He won MVP and was All-Conference for the Tri-County League at both the Guard and Linebacker position as well as an All-State selection in 1958. He was recruited to play football by several colleges but chose to start a farm to care for his family instead.
Jim was a life-long farmer, growing tobacco and steaming tobacco beds for 40+ years. He farmed in partnership with three of his brothers throughout Dane County / the Township of Vienna until late 2013, when he retired to focus on restoring his old tractors and steam engine. Jim held family, God and farming in the highest of regards. In this process, he raised his family on the farm and spent many days farming with them. He taught his family about hard work, the importance of agriculture and stewardship to the land. In addition to farming, Jim was a tobacco buyer for 46 years and salesman for multiple companies including P.A.G./Cargill Seed Corn and Archer Oil. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Dane County A.S.C.S. (FSA) and sat on the board for Schumacher Farms, Foremost Farmers/A.M.P.I. to name a few.
Outside of farming, Jim was an accomplished bowler and was fortunate to win a number of tournaments and make life-long friends in the process. He loved the outdoors and was an avid fisherman and hunter. As such, conservation of land and wildlife was a passion in his life. In 2010, Jim oversaw the donation of a part of his family’s homesteaded Westport Farm to the Natural Heritage Trust to persevere natural prairie and lands adjacent to drumlin formations left by the glaciers. In doing so, he left a legacy of how he felt about land stewardship as a farmer entrusted in caring for land and wildlife.
Jim was a well-loved, extremely generous man who was very involved in his local community and Christ Lutheran Church where he volunteered to provide communion to those in nursing homes who could not attend church. He will forever be remembered for his work ethic, reminding his boys of the value of hard work, the stories that he'd tell with a big ol' grin on his face and for the ways he would generously give to others. In his last years, he particularly enjoyed donating garden produce to the food shelter as well as his time to the Schumacher Farm. He will be so missed by all those who knew and loved him, but had a good relationship with the Lord and is in heaven getting to do all the things he loves to do again.
Jim leaves behind his two sons - James E. Koltes (Dawn) Ames, IA; Michael A. Koltes (Erin), DeForest, WI; their mother Beverly Koltes, DeForest, WI, and granddaughter Elizabeth Koltes.
He was the son of Otto and Marie (Bordson) Koltes; Brothers and Sisters included – Jerry (Terri Lynn) Koltes Waunakee, WI; Dave Koltes Waunakee, WI; Shirley (Harold) Keller - Waunakee, WI; Elaine (Bob) Helgested - Stoughton, WI; Judy (Mark) Malloy, DeForest, WI. He was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers Ronald (Bud) Koltes, Terry Koltes and sister Delores Treadwell.
The family would like to thank the staff at Sienna Crest in Waunakee and Divine Rehabilitation and Nursing in Lodi for taking excellent care of dad.
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, a private ceremony was held.
Winn-Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
5785 Hwy Q, Waunakee
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