James W. Wedeward, Stoughton/Edgerton, WI (1916 - 2015)
January 27, 1916 - April 10, 2015
James W. Wedeward, age 99, passed away Friday morning at Nazareth Rehabilitation Center in Stoughton. Jim has been a Stoughton resident, for the last 40 years and lived in his own house until five weeks before his death. Before that, he was an Edgerton resident, for more than 30 years. Jim was born Jan. 27, 1916, in Marshall, the son of the late Walter and Viola (Bredow) Wedeward. He grew up in Lake Mills, where he was a star high school athlete and Junior Olympic participant before graduating in 1934. He married Edgerton native, Marita Rader (then a Lake Mills teacher) on April 6, 1941, at the historic Little Brown Church in the Vale in Nosha, IA. They lived in the family homestead, 206 Albion St. in Edgerton, from 1942 until 1974, and he was the manger of the Kroger Super Market in Edgerton, for more than 30 years until the company, still the world's largest grocery chain, pulled out of Wisconsin.
While raising his four sons in Edgerton, Jim also joined the Lions Club and was a member of that worldwide service organization for more than 72 years, having split time between the Edgerton, and Stoughton, clubs. He received virtually all of the organization's highest honors, including the Melvin Jones Fellowship, for his dedication to the Lions and is the only member of the Edgerton Lions Club ever to have served as district governor, a position he held in 1964-65. Jim was a United States Navy veteran of World War II. He relived that Navy experience in 2012, by joining his son, John, on the renowned Badger Honor Flight to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Along with total devotion to his family and the Lions, one of Jim's greatest passions was his love of golf. He was widely known for his impressively low scores, well into an advanced age, and continued to play even into his 90s, with Towne Country Club in Edgerton, and Coachman's Inn Golf Resort, his longtime “home” courses. As a golf spectator, the highlight of a lifetime for him came in numerous years of attending The Masters in Augusta, GA. He also was a spectator along the 18th green at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, CO, in 1978, when Wisconsin's Andy North clinched his first of two U.S. Open championships. Jim also was an avid fan of all sports and handed that passion down to his sons. He and his closest friends were longtime season ticket holders for University of Wisconsin football, UW basketball and the WIAA state high school basketball tournament, where he started his son, David, on a trip that now has reached his attendance at 61 straight boys state basketball tournaments.
Several years after Marita's death in 1986, Jim experienced one of the most amazing developments in his life. While attending a Lake Mills alumni reunion, he reconnected with Annette Rockwell Harbour, whom some had called his “high school sweetheart.” They were married on Bald Head Island, SC, in 1991, and were together for just 12 days short of 20 eventful years before her death in 2011. Jim and Annette also lived in the Stoughton home, spent winters in Destin, FL and traveled extensively, including time in Australia, to visit her son's family.
Jim is survived by three sons: James Wayne (Betsy) of Sun Lakes, AZ, David (Letha) of Janesville, and John (Judy) of Stoughton; three grandchildren; Brooke Wedeward, Lori Wedeward and Staci (Sean) Oestreich; two great-grandchildren, Hunter and Hayden Oestreich; five step grandchildren: Jack (Cathy) Femyer, Shelley (Gary Wright) Frye, Stephanie (Dean) George, Sherri (Denis) Gloede, and Sarita Jordan; 11 step great-grandchildren; four step great great-grandchildren; and members of the Harbour family. He was preceded in death by his two wives, Marita and Annette; his youngest son, Steven Phillip, who was born on Jim's birthday, Jan. 27, 1954; his parents; his precious aunt and uncle, Irene and Phillip Wooden; and his close cousin, Harvey Wedeward.
The family would like to thank Phoebe Baker, as well as Jim and Diane Oles, all of Stoughton, for the loving care Jim received from them in recent times. A special thank you, too, to the Nazareth Rehabilitation Center in Stoughton, the Stoughton Hospital, Dr. Joyce Brehm and the Stoughton Senior Center for all they did for Jim.
Memorial services will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, 2015, at the ALBRECHT FUNERAL HOMES & CREMATION SERVICES, Edgerton. The burial will be at Maple Hill Cemetery in Evansville, at a later date. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. until the start of the service on Thursday at THE FUNERAL HOME. In lieu of flowers, donations would be welcome for memorial funds being arranged on behalf of the Wisconsin Lions Foundation, as well as the Edgerton and Stoughton Lions clubs.
Albrecht Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Edgerton
1004 S. Main St., 608-884-6010