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Obituary for James D. “Jim” Lee

La Farge: James (Jim) David Lee passed away on Sunday, April, 5th 2020, at the Vernon Memorial Hospital in Viroqua, Wisconsin. He was born on Sept. 1st, 1955 in La Crosse, Wisconsin to Janice and Burton Lee of Coon Valley. He graduated from Westby High school in 1973 and then UW-La Crosse (Political Science), where he formed lifelong friendships. Jim married Karen (Elliott) in 1981 and purchased a little farmhouse in rural La Farge. This was an ideal place to keep bees and start a family. They had a son, a daughter, and beeyards located throughout the county. During this time he commuted to La Crosse to work at ORC as a woodshop supervisor. In 1989, he accepted a position with Vernon County Human Services, where he worked tirelessly to help families as a social worker and later as a supervisor. Jim was dedicated to service: a member of the La Farge Lions Club, a Big Brother, township chairman, Church Council member (Bethany Lutheran), and countless other community projects. He was a prolific gardener and enjoyed raising sheep, chickens and bees. He loved nature, and could identify (and draw) any local butterfly or moth. He was also an avid outdoorsman. Jim was an incredibly sweet husband, father and grandfather. He spent the last several years helping care for his mother, debilitated by a stroke. He had a great sense of humor and a gentle demeanor. He was a mentor to many, a good neighbor, and all-together great guy. The world was made better through his work and personality. A month prior to retirement he was led down the difficult road of cancer. He faced this challenge with courage and strength, smiling until the very end. He is survived by his wife (Karen), children Robin (Danielle), Jessamyn Lee-Jones (Garrett), grandchildren (Phoebe and Levon), brother Toby (Joan), sister Jody Lee-Lampe (Greg), niña (Marcela), father (Burton), many nieces, nephews, colleagues, dear friends and neighbors. He was preceded in death by his mother, Janice Lee. All will miss him dearly. The family extends deep appreciation to all that helped through this difficult time. Donations in his honor can be made to the La Farge Ambulance and Vernon Memorial Hospice Fund. A memorial service will be held at the CoonValley Lutheran church as well as a celebration of life on a date to be determined. Until then, when we see a honeybee on clover, a monarch on milkweed, or a buck in the forest, we will remember Jim Lee with sincere gratitude.