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James "Jim" Davis

James "Jim" Davis

August 8, 2018

James R. “Jim” Davis, age 91, of Altoona, WI died on Wednesday August 8, 2018, of congestive heart failure.  He was born January 12, 1927, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, WI.  When Jim and his mother were released from the hospital, they took a train home because a large snowstorm had closed all the roads.  Jim’s father met his wife and new son with a team of horses and a sleigh to carry them the 1.5 miles to their farm home in the Town of Fremont, Clark County.

Jim attended grade school at Valley View School, just across the road from his parents’ farm. He then attended Loyal High school graduating in 1944. To avoid summer farm work, Jim worked his last two summers of high school in the steel mills of Gary, IN. 

In the fall of 1944 Jim began college at Eau Claire State Teachers College.  He dropped out of college at Christmas of that year to enlist in the U.S. Navy, at age 17. After he had completed boot camp and Service School at Great Lakes, IL, Jim was shipped to the west coast for further assignment to the war in the Pacific.  As the troop train got to Omaha there was news of the surrender of Japan. Jim was then assigned to naval bases in the San Francisco area.  He had one special assignment to the Bikini Scientific Resurvey Project in 1947.  Three ships were assigned to determine the amount of radiation that remained at the Bikini Atoll (Marshall Islands) one year after underwater atomic bomb testing was completed.

After discharge from the Navy in late 1947, Jim returned to Wisconsin and enrolled at Whitewater State Teachers’ College. While at Whitewater, Jim met his future wife, Joyce Harder.  Jim majored in business education, was inducted into Pi Omega Pi, an honor society, and was a member of the Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity.  After graduation in 1950 Jim became a business education teacher at Alma Center, WI.  After a year he moved to Blair WI where for 37 years he taught and later became guidance counselor.  In June of 1951 he married Joyce Harder in Reedsburg, WI.

While an educator in Blair, Jim was involved with a wide variety of extra-curricular student groups which included advising the: Senior Class, Year Book, National Honor Society, and coaching the Blair High Quiz Bowl Team.  Jim’s life was dedicated to education and in retirement he and Joyce happily attended many class reunions. Jim earned his Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 1953, and over the years spent many summers and evenings attending graduate classes.

Photography was Jim’s lifelong hobby. During his years in Blair Jim was often seen carrying a camera and was frequently asked to photograph school events, family gatherings, weddings, and community events. Jim was a member of the American Legion and served as Commander and long-time Adjutant of Post 231.  He belonged to Blair Chamber of Commerce and was a charter member of the Blair Bookworms book club.  Jim was a member of Zion Lutheran Church where he sang in the choir, served on the church council, and taught Sunday school.  In 1963 Jim was awarded the Blair community’s Civic Award. During the 1960’s Jim served on the City Council and was twice elected as mayor of Blair.  As mayor Jim was involved with establishing Grand View Nursing Home and spoke at the opening of the final Wisconsin link of Interstate 94 at Hixton.

Jim retired in 1988 and when Joyce retired in 1989 they moved to Altoona, WI.  They joined Trinity Lutheran church where Jim served on the council and sang in the Senior Choir for many years.  He served as an executive board member, treasurer, and editor of the newsletter for the Eau Claire Area Retired Educators’ Association. He volunteered at the Chippewa Valley Visitor Center for 15 years.  He continued participation in the Blair book club and later, the Knollwood Reading Group. 

Attending live theater was another of Jim’s interests.  Once retired, Jim became a tour manager/director for Holiday Vacations. This job he enjoyed immensely for 13 years for the travel opportunities, as well as meeting new people, and helping them to enjoy their vacations. Family vacations were also enjoyed by Jim, especially to Door County WI.  Favorite destinations included:  Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, the Mediterranean, and the 28 Elderhostel/Road Scholar travel programs he and Joyce attended.

Jim is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Joyce Harder Davis, Altoona. He is also survived by his daughters Jan Davis (Monticello, MN) and Jinny (Ron) Talledge Juntunen (Eau Claire, WI).  He leaves one grandchild, Nathaniel (Kara) Talledge (Minneapolis MN), who was always the light of Jim’s life.  Jim is survived by 3 nephews on the Davis side:  Lyle, Jerry (Jennifer), and Richard, as well as his 4 nieces and 4 nephews on the Harder family side.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Wellie Heath Davis and Emma Kampin Davis (Marshfield, WI), brother Lyle who died in infancy, brother Forrest (Hobart, IN), and son-in-law Brent Talledge (Chippewa Falls, WI).

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, August 22, 2018, at Trinity Lutheran Church 1314 E. Lexington Blvd. in Eau Claire.  Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church.  

The family requests any memorials be made to any of the three theater groups in the Eau Claire area, or Trinity Lutheran Church in Eau Claire.

Chippewa Valley Cremation Services in Altoona is serving the family. 


10-11 a.m. Wednesday, August 22, 2018, at Trinity Lutheran Church 1314 E. Lexington Blvd. in Eau Claire.


11 a.m. Wednesday, August 22, 2018, at Trinity Lutheran Church 1314 E. Lexington Blvd. in Eau Claire.

Florist Information

Brent Douglas Floral - (715) 831-0997 - All flowers should be delivered to the church on Aug 22 by 8:45 a.m.


  • Barb Barkley Ellingson I am so sorry we had to be out of town the day of his funeral! He was a dear, sweet man and will be in our hearts forever.

    August 24 at 2:50pm

  • Kim Stephenson My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    August 18 at 9:51am

  • Jennifer Davis Uncle Jim lead a wonderful life! He will be missed by all who knew him. Our deepest sympathy and thoughts and prayers to Aunt Joyce, Jan, Jinny, and Nathaniel.....With tons of love, Jerry and Jen

    August 13 at 12:22pm

  • Jeanette Scheuermann My sympathy to Joyce and family
    Jim was a delight to know and work with in Eau Claire area retired educators. His newsletters were wonderful and so complete. It was great to see Jim and you at the plays and I was on two of his guided tours with Holiday Travel. He made it so fun and a learning trip about the area we traveled in. His good humor and enjoying life made any time with him and Joyce a fun time.
    We missed you and him at ECAREA meetings. Blessings to the family.
    Jeanette Scheuermann

    August 11 at 7:25AM

  • Joan Cook Please accept my condolences on your loss. I knew Jim when we were both on the board of ECAREA. His newsletters were so special! Indeed, Jim also was special. Joan Cookkelo

    August 11 at 7:07AM

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