To live in the hearts and minds of those we leave behind

Let us help get you started

Obituary for James Hemker

James Bernard Hemker, 87, lifelong resident of La Crosse, Wisconsin, passed away on Saturday, February 19th, from complications of Parkinson’s disease and heart failure. James was born on March 19th, 1934, to Esther (Sprain) and Bernard Hemker. Jim graduated from La Crosse Central High School in 1951 and went on to get a degree in Electrical Engineering from UW-Madison. While in college he was a member of the Army ROTC. Upon graduation, he was stationed at White Sands Proving Ground in the Army Signal Corp. After his time in the army, he briefly worked as an engineer at the Square D Corporation in Milwaukee, WI. James married Barbara Handrich in September of 1961, moving back to La Crosse to join the family business, Hemker Oil Company, in 1965. His hobbies included biking, hiking, canoeing, and spending time with his family and friends. He loved to tell of his adventures growing up in La Crosse. A favorite was getting on his tricycle with a friend when he was only 5 years old and riding from 8th street to the base of Grandad Bluff without permission. He continued his biking adventures throughout his life. Alongside his brother-in-law, Lealon, he completed the Hilly Hundred, SAGBRAW, and RAGBRAI multiple times well into his 70s. He was a long-time active member of Faith Lutheran Church in La Crosse. James is survived by his wife of 60 years, Barbara (Handrich), his three children, their spouses, and grandchildren: son David (Pamela), Matthew, and Mary Hemker; daughter Susan (James), Michael, (Miriam) and Samuel (Bailey) Schwiebert; and daughter Beth (Gary), Lydia and Benjamin Hach. He is also survived by his sister, Ann (Lealon) Tonkinson and sister-in-law Marilyn Hemker. He leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins and his aunt, Alice Sprain. James was preceded in death by his mother and father Esther and Bernard Hemker and brother Paul Hemker. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 5th, at 10:00 am at Faith Lutheran Church, (1407 Main St. La Crosse, WI) with visitation in the church one hour before. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials may be given to Faith Lutheran Church.