James Kohnen, 80, of Bertha and formerly of Springfield, died March 20, 2019, while in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
Funeral service was held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 30, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Bertha. Burial was in Geneva Cemetery, Alexandria.
James Allen Kohnen was born in Wadena, Minnesota, on Dec. 23, 1938, to Hobart and Hilda (Anderson) Kohnen. His father died suddenly when Jim was 17, and he immediately took over management of the family farm at Bertha.
In 1961 Jim met his first love, Evelyn Raaum, at the Clarissa Ballroom. They got to know each other on the dance floor and were married on June 16, 1962. They enjoyed 39 years together before cancer took her too soon in 2001. They raised two sons, Todd and Kevin. Jim had a 40-year career in the creamery management business, many years with the Springfield Farmers’ Cooperative Creamery. Everyone was greeted with a smile and a joke about Sven, Ole or Lena, followed by Jim’s deep laugh. He was involved heavily in community service.
Jim was a member of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and he was a founding member of the Springfield Area Nativity Association (SANTA), that organized the live nativity pageant in Springfield. He also served on many church boards over the years.
In 1993, Jim and Ev moved to Alexandria where Jim took a job managing the Nelson Creamery to live out his dream of owning a lake home. He enjoyed many years in that home watching his grandchildren grow. He loved pulling them around the lake for water skiing or tubing, and teaching the kids how to fish.
After Ev passed away, Jim met Glenda Rach, who was also widowed. They were married on Feb. 2, 2002. Jim moved to Glenda’s home on the farm. Soon after he retired from his career in the creamery business. He took up a hobby refurbishing tractors. He also spent many hours in the woodshop creating treasures for family and friends and loved “keeping up” the yard and grove. He always had a project going.
Jim and Glenda delighted in 17 years together. They enjoyed traveling, camping, road trips and going south in winter. Jim was a man of simple pleasures getting his coffee in Hewitt each weekday, playing cards with friends, and helping others when they needed an extra hand.
Jim is survived by his wife, Glenda; sons, Todd (special friend, Jill McIntire) and Kevin (Tammy); six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; three stepchildren; 10 stepgrandchildren; and three step great-grandchildren.