James F. “Jim” “JW” Willems, 79, of Green Bay, got his angel wings on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. He walked away from Lewy-Body Dementia, a neurological disease that causes hallucinations, delusions, and symptoms similar to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, straight into heaven. His final wish was to help others with this devastating disease. Jim would be proud to have had his brain donated to the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center where it will be used for Lewy Body research.
Jim was born at home on Oct. 30, 1939 in the town of Lawrence to the late Joseph and Marian (Ambrosius) Willems. He served his country in the United States Navy from 1960 to 1965. Jim married Betty Skenandore. He was employed at Ft Howard Paper Company as a papermaker and retired after 37 years of loyal service. He was a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.
Jim was an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping. He fished all over the world and especially loved New Zealand, Australia, Alaska and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. He and Betty traveled all over the world visiting and enjoying other cultures, including Thailand, Greece, Italy, North and South New Zealand, Australia, Hobart, France, Portugal, Germany, Mexico, Canada and most of the United States. Jim was also a world class wine maker and loved tasting wine as they traveled. He liked making maple syrup, searching for morel mushrooms, gathering berries and caring for his large garden every year. Jim was just learning how to wood carve and enjoyed carving wildlife.
Surviving are his loving wife, Betty; stepdaughter, Lisa Melchior; daughters, Anna Robinson and Sherri (Dave) Larson; grandchildren, Brittany Larson, Josh Larson, Maria LaFave and Amanda Robinson; great-granddaughter, Kiana; brothers, Joey Willems and Les (Diane) Willems; sisters, Helen Calhoon and Mary Ann (Rick) Nickel. Jim is further survived by his sisters-in-law, Mary Pat Willems, Claudia Skenandore, Sharon (Alan) Cloud, Barb (Scott) Andre, and Linda (Wayne) VerHeyen; brothers-in-law, Cecil (Tina) Skenandore, Wayne Skenandore, and Eugene (Judy) Skenandore; his niece, Tavie and her “boyfriend” Mike; nephew, Jesse Nickel; more nieces and nephews than he can count, cousins and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Rich Willems and David Willems; brother-in-law, Jim Calhoon; sister-in law, Jo Anne Willems; father and mother in-law, Cecil and Ruth Skenandore; and his best friend, Herb Lax.
Visitation will be held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 2771 Oakwood Drive, on Monday, June 24, 2019 from 9:00 am until the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am, with Father Paul Demuth officiating. Ennichement to take place at Fort Howard Cemetery. Condolences may be shared with Jim’s family at www.lyndahl.com
A special thank you to the staff at Anna John Resident Centered Care Community for their care during this very long and difficult journey.
“I lost my best friend and husband, Jim. Life without you can never be the same. I carry an angel in my heart that is very precious and has your name. Peace and comfort have been the most important thing I have been able to give you during this thirteen-year journey. I know you have that now. Until we meet again, I have loving memories to keep you near. I will love you always and forever. Jim, you told me you could live without fishing, without your truck. without your home, and without money, but that it would be devastating to live without me. I feel the same for you.”