James "Jim" Huffman dies at 67
James "Jim" Huffman age 67 of New Hampton, died peacefully, with his family by his side, at his home, Friday June 23, 2017.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10 a.m. Saturday July, 1, 2017, at Holy Family Catholic Church in New Hampton with Rev. Brian Dellaert celebrating the Mass.
Pallbearers will be Bob Brincks, Bob Messersmith, Joe Sabelka, Dennis Buckendahl, Ron Bumba, Duane Bearman, and Brad Neitzke.
Friends may greet the family 5 - 8 p.m. Friday June 30, 2017, at the Holy Family Parish Gathering Space where there will be a 7:30 p.m. Parish Scripture Service. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass in the Gathering Space on Saturday. Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home in New Hampton is entrusted with services. Online condolences for Jim's family may be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com
James (Jim) LeRoy Huffman was born on December 19, 1949, in Waukon, son of LeRoy and Raphaella Huffman. He was the second of six children. As a child, the family moved to New Hampton. There he attended St. Mary’s Catholic Grade School and graduated in 1968 from New Hampton High School. Starting in 6th grade, he worked before and after school in local hardware stores. In high school, he spent summers on cattle drives in Montana with family friends. After high school, he enlisted in the Navy, but due to serious injuries from a car accident he was forced to change his plans.
He was employed by the Austin Company as a clerk while they were building the new Sara Lee plant. After the Austin Company left New Hampton, Jim began working for United Telephone as a technician. Over the course of his employment, various mergers resulted in him working for United Telephone, Contel, GTE, and retired as a Verizon employee. While working for these companies he also attended additional technical schools in Kansas City.
On June 23, 1979, Jim married the love of his life Ruth Boeding at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in St. Lucas. Two wonderful sons were born from this union- Jason Thomas and Ryan Joseph. He enjoyed traveling with his wife and sons throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. He especially enjoyed taking them to the National Parks. Jim and Ruth also attended many 60’s and 70’s era rock concerts over the years. Jim enjoyed taking his family fishing and hunting. He was especially proud of his sons and dearly loved his grandchildren.
Jim was a man of many talents. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He took many fishing trips to Canada, Lake Michigan, lakes in Minnesota and Iowa, and the Mississippi River. He especially loved walleye fishing, trout fishing, and ice fishing. He hunted for turkey, pheasant, deer, duck, bear, and was a very skilled bow hunter. He had many fishing buddies who were also his lifelong friends.
Jim was known for his generosity, intelligence, wittiness, sense of humor, and storytelling. He always saw the good in everyone. He was a kind and gentle man who spent much of his time helping others before his illness, especially his parents. In 1999, he was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor and underwent surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester. Over time he partially recovered, but in 2008 he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor. The grace he displayed during his years of illness was remarkable. His strong faith in God helped him endure through years of living with pain.
Jim is survived by his wife of 38 years Ruth; his sons Jason (Megan) Huffman of Des Moines, and Ryan Huffman of New Hampton; his grandchildren Owen, Peter, Avery, and Nolan; one sister Rita (Gene) Van Dyck of Dodgeville, Wisc; four brothers, Brian (Claire) Huffman of Hudson, Wisc, Creighton (Sue) Huffman of Minneapolis, Minn, Robert Huffman of Mound, Minn., Phil (Beth) Huffman of Saugatuck, MI; brothers and sisters-in-law Ron (Marlene) Wenthold of Ossian, Elaine Croatt of Lawler, Mary Jo (Joe) Sabelka of Lawler, Karen (Bob) Messersmith of New Hampton; along with many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; step mother Ann Boeding Huffman; father-in-law and mother-in-law Joe and Ann Boeding; brothers and sisters-in-law Frances and Dennis Pecinovsky, Dan Kerian, Arlene Wenthold, Eugene Boeding, Dave Croatt, and many loved aunts and uncles.