Jim Thomes, age 71, Lakeville, passed away at his home surrounded by his wife and daughters on Thursday, Jan. 31.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Michael Catholic Church, 16311 Duluth Avenue Southeast, Prior Lake, at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12. Father Tom Walker will preside.
Military honors provided by the Prior Lake V.F.W Honor Guard will immediately follow the mass.
Visitation will be held at the church two hours prior to the service on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
A private family interment will be held at a later date at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery.
Five short months ago, Jim was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He approached this challenge with his usual go-forward, positive, organized and detailed self. His journey relied on the strength of his faith, family and friends. All of which he had in abundance.
James Karl Thomes was born in Arlington on July 28, 1947. He was the oldest of Karl Nicholas and Mary Renee (Galarneault) Thomes’ five children. From his pre-teen through college years, Jim worked alongside his father, grandmother and uncles at Thomes Brothers Hardware. During his high school years Jim was active in football, track, basketball and band. He graduated as salutatorian from the Arlington High School in 1965.
Jim graduated in 1969 from St. John’s University with a major in mathematics. That same year he entered officer training with the U.S. Navy. Jim served active duty for six years and retired as a Commander after 20 years as a member of the Navy Reserves. In 1980 Jim earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of St. Thomas.
Jim spent his professional years in banking, the first 20 years with First National Bank in St. Paul and the next 22 years in Corporate Trust with Norwest Bank/Wells Fargo in Minneapolis. Jim retired at the age of 65 and enjoyed his hobby as a part-time consultant during retirement for a New York rating agency. Consulting kept him sharp and engaged and enabled him to work from home in Lakeville, Florida or at the cabin.
Jim’s greatest life adventure began the summer after graduating from St. John’s in 1969. On an airplane to Europe with a large group of students, he sat across the aisle from a girl from St. Cloud State named Kathy Schletz. Little did he know, that girl would become the love of his life and that plane ride just the first of countless trips around the globe together.
On Tuesday, Aug. 24, 1970, Jim and Kathy were married at St. Joseph Catholic Church in St. Paul. Jim returned from officer training the day before and the newlywed couple had just five days to report to Jim’s assignment in Georgia. After Georgia, their time as an active duty Navy couple brought them to Guam (twice), San Francisco and Seattle before returning home to Minneapolis. While in Guam, daughters Tara and Kelley were born.
Spending quality time with family was important to Jim and along with Kathy, Tara and Kelley, he enjoyed their annual vacations on Sanibel Island and weekends up at the cabin in Emily. As the girls got older, Jim and Kathy developed a close group of friends with whom they have visited six continents and shared dozens of European adventures. As a grandfather to five girls, Jim was always up for a game of Go Fish or Mexican Train at the lake and could manage putting worms on, and taking fish off, of five poles simultaneously! He loved pontoon boat rides and reading a good book on the deck. He was a great texter and never missed an opportunity to send words of encouragement to his five granddaughters.
A new tradition of vising Lake of the Woods with a group of friends began post-retirement and was a trip he so enjoyed. Several years ago, he created the Men’s Informal Lunch Klub (MILK) to keep his group of 20-plus travel friends connected. Jim and Kathy enjoyed sharing a glass of wine with friends and family at sunset up at the lake and at their home in Bonita Springs.
Those who knew Jim, knew he was a good person. He was a leader, a mentor, a teacher. Jim was honest and compassionate. He prayed for peace in our world and wisdom for the leaders of our nation and the Church. He was kind, generous and believed in the inherent good in everyone. For many years he visited the homes of friends, family and co-workers in the weeks prior to Christmas to share the magic of Santa Claus. He studied the activities of each child he visited to ensure they felt loved and special. This simple activity brought him so much joy!
Jim touched so many lives and changed them for the better. He will be remembered and cherished always by his wife, Kathy; daughter, Tara (Kevin) Keil and their daughters, Leah, Brenna and Alicia; daughter, Kelley (Jerry) Ries and their daughters, Ellen and Abigail; siblings, Jean (Bill) Heltmes, Mike (Cindy) Thomes, Bruce (Kim) Thomes and Beth (Mark) Olson; other relatives and friends. Welcoming Jim home in eternal peace are his parents, Karl and Renee.
Memorials are preferred and will be distributed in Jim’s memory by the family.
Ballard-Sunder Funeral and Cremation proudly served and cared for the Thomes family.