James Thomas York, age 90, formally of Abbotsford, passed away peacefully on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, surrounded by family at the Colby Retirement Community in Colby, Wisconsin.
Jim was born on June 13, 1930, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, the second child of Lawrence and Eunice (Ledger) York’s five children. He grew up on their dairy farm in Lake Geneva.
Jim played on the Lake Geneva High School varsity football team for three years and pitched in a fast pitch softball league. After games Jim would go to Friedianna’s, the local soda fountain, with friends. It was there that he noticed Doris Chaney, a girl he described as vivacious and cute. Doris was not sure she wanted to date the school football star; she said, “He had the prettiest hair. He was a gentleman, and he never wore overalls to school.” Their first date was in 1949 shortly after Jim graduated.
They were married at the Lake Geneva Baptist Church on March 10, 1951. They rented their first farm and then bought their own farm. In 1962, a fire quickly burned the entire house and all their belongings. They were left with only each other, their daughters: ages 10, 7, and 2, and two vehicles. They continued to farm, and to earn extra money they leased and operated the King O Dairy root beer stand in East Troy. Doris and her mother made the food. By 1970 they had a son and decided to buy a farm with a milking parlor in Dorchester. Shortly after moving, a tornado hit the farm, taking half the roof, destroying both silo roofs, and smashing the forage wagon into their only car. Together they survived two tornados, a house fire, and a barn fire. They focused on faith, family, perseverance and fun. At their 50th wedding anniversary party Doris shared what kept them together, “Faith and a sense of humor. Jim is gentle and understanding. I can always count on him. He is exactly what I needed.” After 10 years apart, they are finally reunited in heaven.
Jim was an active member of the Lynn Presbyterian Church in Zenda, Wisconsin, and the First Presbyterian Church in Abbotsford. He lived his faith by serving on Session, teaching Sunday School, compassionately serving, generously giving, and leading the youth group. He was ordained as a lay pastor of the Presbyterian Church in 2002. He served the larger church as synod commissioner and presbytery moderator. Jim served on the Abbotsford School Board for 25 years. He was also active in 4-H his entire life, and he encouraged his children to do the same by showing animals at local and state fairs.
This avid sports enthusiast made it a priority to cheer for his children and grandchildren. The Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Badgers and Milwaukee Brewers were his favorite sports teams.
Jim is lovingly survived by his children: Sherry (Tim) Riggsbee, Siler City, N.C.; Christine (Peter) Kaz, Owen; Darlene (Bud Barrett), Abbotsford; James (Leslie) York, North Saint Paul, Minn.; his eight grandchildren; plus many greatgrandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by siblings: Margaret (Jack) Lee, La Farge and Ellis (Karen) York, Clinton. Jim was preceded in death by his dear wife, Doris (Chaney) York; siblings: Ardith Wissell and Walter York; and grand daughter, Dena Gil.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 28, at First Presbyterian Church in Abbotsford. Visitation with family will be after the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Jim’s name may be sent to the family. Maurina-Schilling Funeral Home of Abbotsford is assisting the family with arrangements (www. maurinaschilling.com). Family and friends can watch the service live on the funeral home’s Facebook page or after the service anytime on Facebook or the funeral home website.
Paid obituary 93833