Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Very Special Christmas Surprise!

This past year my Dad's brother Jim lost his battle with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  He was an amazing man of faith and one of the best male role models I had in my life.  Here is pictured with the Arizona sunshine quilt I sent him and the little memorial quilt I made him with my Dad's shirts.  He always sent my sister and I birthday cards with 5 or 10 dollars in it to enjoy a cup of coffee, this year when I got my card I wondered if it would be the last.  He passed away less than a week after our birthdays.  Today I got a surprise in the mail.  His second wife, my aunt Mary, (aunt Norma died of cancer many years ago) sent me this hand painted ornament that my uncle Jim had made for us before he passed.  This has my dad, then my Uncle Lew and then Uncle Jim in it.  It is made from a picture before my Uncle Rick was born.  These three boys lost their mom at about the ages in this picture and then my Grandpa Len remarried Grandma Nan and they had Rick.  What a treasure this ornament is, such a thoughtful gift from a thoughtful man.  Oh how I miss him, especially since my Dad is also gone.  Lew passed away many years ago from ALS.  So all three of these boys are gone, but live forever in our hearts and our stories.  


You don't have to read on, but in the hopes that one day my children's children read this blog they may want to see Uncle Jim's obituary.  So here it is:

James J. Neff, DDS, 65
James “Jim” Jeffrey Neff, age 65, of Winsted, entered into his eternal rest Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013.
He was born Sept. 24, 1947, in Oak Park, IL, to Leonard and Florence (Lottridge) Neff. Jim spent his adolescent and high school years with his family in Chippewa Falls, WI.
He graduated with a bachelor of science degree from University of WI- Eau Claire, and with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from Marquette University.
After serving a term as a dentist in the Air Force in Washington, Jim decided to leave active duty in the military and start private practice dentistry. He and his beloved wife, Norma researched 50 communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and agreed that Winsted would fulfill most of their desires for a good environment in which to raise their children, be close to family, have a quality lifestyle, and provide high quality dental care.
Jim had many interests, and always jumped into life with both feet in running stride. Besides maintaining a successful, state-of-the art dental clinic, he was active in many community activities, and in national and international organizations.
He was a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate, and was instrumental in developing the Winsted Karate Club, which trained several world champions within the ASKF organization. He was active for many years in contributing to the growth of Winsted through his leadership in the Winsted Civic and Commerce Association and the Winsted Community Chest.
Additionally, he served as a director, vice chairman, and chairman of St. Mary’s Hospital and Home; and as a director of Health Central Systems. He was on the founding board of St. Mary’s Apartments (now Linden Wood Apartments), was a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 407, and a member of the Waverly Boosters. He also served for many years on the board of directors of Mayer Lutheran High School.
Jim served in various leadership capacities in the churches which he attended over the years. In 1989, he was presented the Outstanding Citizen Award by the Winsted Civic and Commerce Association; and in 2001, he was presented the Outstanding Service Award by the City of Winsted.
For over a decade, Jim has served on the board of directors of VVMI (Vernacular Video Missions International), and has been the chairman since 2004. Through this organization, he has enabled nationals in the Philippines, Guatemala, and Peru to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through Christian videos in their heart languages. He was also instrumental in beginning the Our Father’s Promise School of Ministry and Living Waters Christian Fellowship.
Jim loved the Lord Jesus Christ with his total being and boldly proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God to people with whom he came in contact. He loved to pray for people and was known for how he reflected the love of Christ.
Jim loved God’s creation, and enjoyed being outside bicycling, kayaking, SCUBA diving, camping, hiking, and cross country skiing.
He is survived by his wife, Mary (Meyer Stamm); his brother, Richard (Lisa) Neff; his daughters, Carla (Chris), and Patricia (David); his sons, Brian (Joy), and Sid (Rebecca); his brothers-in-law, John (Vicki) and Marv (Gloria) Schauland; his sister-in-law, Gena Meyer and brother-in-law Nick (Barbara) Meyer; six grandchildren, Joseph, Emma, Maggie, Alanna, Isabella and Arya; and 13 nieces.
In addition to his first wife, Norma, Jim was preceded in death by his brothers, Lewis and Allan; father Leonard and mother Florence; step-mother Nancy; father-in-law and mother-in-law Oscar and Emma Schauland; mother-in-law Mildred Meyer; and sisters-in-law: Ruth Schauland and Mary Schauland.
A celebration of Jim’s life took place Sunday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. at the home of Living Waters Christian Fellowship at the Waverly Village Hall, with the Rev. Joel Swedberg officiating. Music was provided by the Waterfall Praise Team.
Pallbearers were Louie Stifter, Brett Monson, John Schauland, Marv Schauland, Terry Sheldon, Kim Jackson, Nick Meyer, and Rick Neff.
Visitation was Saturday, Aug. 17 at Chilson Funeral Chapel in Winsted from 4 to 8 p.m.
Memorials will be donated to various missions that Jim and Mary support.
The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted served the family. Online condolences may be made to www.chilsonfuneralhome.com.

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