James "Jim" John Dee, 83, of Mitchell, SD was with family when he died on Friday, Dec 29th at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls. Jim was born on June 16, 1934, in Rochester, MN to Walter Dee and Ardina (Doberstein) Dee. He was a lifelong learner who read about topics from genetic research to fly-fishing. Whether he was splashing in the pool or volunteering in their classrooms, his grandchildren felt embraced in his love. Jim and his beloved, Christine, enjoyed the excitement of world travel. But they also savored quiet evenings and dancing in their living room.
Jim often said "The moment I met Chris, I knew I'd marry her." They wed on February 19, 1955, beginning a lifetime of adventures. ' The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.' Our father gave us that.
After serving in the army, Jim attended the U of MN, graduating in 1961 with a B.S in Dairy Microbiology. His first job was in the lab of Tolibia Cheese in Fond du Lac WI. His innovation increased the company's production and profits resulting in a promotion to VP of Tolibia Cheese within two years. Jim and Christine started Dakota Cheese, Inc in April of 1971 and moved to Mitchell, SD in 1972. He served on the Methodist Hospital Board and the Board of Regents of SD. He served on the boards of the U.S Cheese Assn, and the U.S Italian Cheese Assn. Jim was a consultant for cheese factories in Latvia and the Czech Republic.
An everyday hero, his good deeds often went unheralded. We continue to find anonymous scholarships/financial aid and acts of kindness he provided to both friends and strangers. Dad will always inspire us by his well-lived life, his brilliant mind, and as a great man who filled our hearts with beautiful memories.
So Dad, when you seem far away we will reminisce to bring you closer. We may remember you holding mom in the kitchen and whispering "I love you". Or recall you soothing our disappointments with a long hug, saying: "Try again, I believe in you."
We will remember how grateful you were for the love, the adventures, and all the God gifts you received during your faith-filled life on earth. And we will never forget your lifelong, oft-repeated phrase spoken right up until your last goodbye: "I've had a great run."
Jim is survived by his wife, Christine Dee of Mitchell, SD; children: Jed (Pennie) Dee of Surprise AZ, Amy (Steve) Dee of Fargo, ND, Ben (Olga) Dee Mitchell, SD. His grandchildren: John (Courtney) Dee, Phoenix AZ, Michael (Stephanie) Dee of Phoenix, AZ, Christine Kristensen, Minneapolis MN, Sofi Kristensen, Sioux Falls, SD, Tessa Dee, Sioux Falls SD, Sam Dee, Des Moines IA, Jase Dee, Spearfish SD. His great-grandchildren Anna, Ethan, Charlotte, and Henry. His brother; Richard (Pauline) Dee of Moose Lake, MN.
A private memorial service will be at a later date. Memorials may be sent to Dougherty House, Sioux Falls or The Good Samaritan Fund, First Lutheran Church, Mitchell, SD or a charity of your choice.