James Charles Koleske, age 79, of Appleton passed away on February 3, 2020 following complications from a stroke in the comfort of his home. He was surrounded by his loved ones in prayer and peace. Jim was born on November 4th, 1940 on his family’s farm in Appleton, son of Ed and Grace Koleske.
He graduated from Appleton West in 1959 where he met his future sweetheart Audrey Mahloch. Legend has it they were on the yellow school bus together when Jim noticed her arm was broken and offered to carry her books. While they were separated by distance when Audrey chose Mount Mary College, they were reunited at St. Norbert College two years later. Jim graduated in 1963, and they were married October 21st, 1967 at St. Edward Church in Mackville. They shared 52 years of marriage, building a beautiful family, traveling the world, spending time at their cottage, and cheering on his grandchildren at their sporting events.
Jim began his military service as a member of ROTC at St. Norbert. Later, he went on to honorably serve two years in the US Army where he was stationed in Korea. He continued his civil service as an Alderman for the City of Appleton as president of the City Council, spanning three terms.
He led a fulfilling and successful career at Wisconsin Tissue. His career spanned 30 years, serving most prominently as the plant’s manager before he retired in 1997.
Jim enjoyed spending time at his cottage in Townsend, WI where he watched his children and grandchildren swim, fish, sing around the campfire, and enjoyed “Kamp Koleske” each 4th of July. He and Audrey valued travel of all kinds ranging from trips to the casino, fishing trips in Alaska with grandkids, cruises with Audrey and her sister Judy (who he lovingly called his second wife), and yearly trips to Siesta Key Beach with family.
To know Jim was to know a man notably quiet, humble, and kind. His soft humor, capacity for dates, and ability to welcome anyone with easy-going conversation are all traits Jim carried effortlessly. He found joy in simple things like watching his bird feeders to fend off squirrels, watching Packers or Badgers games with family, or simply sitting and listening to the conversations around him. Jim could often be found with a book in his hand, a hum on his lips, or a “thank you, very good dear” to Audrey for a meal she served him. His family will hold close and cherish the many beautiful memories they have created with Jim over the years.
He is preceded in death by his parents Ed and Grace; his three siblings Robert, Donald, Edward. He is survived by his wife, Audrey; his children Paul Koleske (Colleen), Sarah Simon (Chris), Rachel Wiese (Michael), Pat Koleske (Katie); his grandchildren, Joshua, Noah, Jonah, Elijah, Ava, Santana, Isaiah, Isidore, Alexia, Gavin, Nolan, Sophia, and Eleanor. He is also survived by his brothers-in-law Jim (Penny), Jerry (Kate); Sisters-in-law Bev (Joe), Judy.
Funeral Services for Jim will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 7, 2020 at SAINT THERESE CATHOLIC PARISH, 213 E Wisconsin Avenue, Appleton. Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service.
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