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James Friske

James “Jim” H. Friske, 84, of Tomah passed away Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, at the Morrow Memorial Home, Sparta.

He was born Jan. 21, 1934, to Harold A. and Christine B. (Parker) Friske in Rockland.

As a child, he was brought up and attended school at Council Creek near Tomah. This area years ago, was the location where the Native Indians held their council meetings. Jim would often spend his younger days outside exploring and found arrow heads on the farm his folks owned. He attended St. Paul’s Lutheran Grade School. After attending Tomah High School, Jim worked at Fort McCoy for a short time during World War II shining shoes. In August of 1951, Jim went to work for the Milwaukee Railroad. In 1956, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, stationed in the D Battery as Nike Ajax Air Defense, Fort Bliss, Texas. From there he was sent to Rock Springs, Nevada, proving grounds, where he served for four months. During that time, Jim was part of 16 atomic bomb explosions as close as two miles from ground zero. During his time in the military, Jim was the recipient of the Oozlefinch award. After being discharged from the military, Jim returned home and went back to work for the railroad. On June 23, 1962, he was united in marriage to Kathleen K. Burkhalter at St. John Ev. Lutheran Church, Ridgeville. Jim continued working as a welder for the railroad and later as the welding department supervisor, finally retiring in 1991.

Throughout his lifetime, Jim was actively involved with the Oakdale Lions club. As a Lions member, he assisted in bringing the flag pole from Reedsburg, Wis., to Mill Bluff State Park and during hunting season was a key participant with the deer hide program supporting the Lions Camp.

He was an avid outdoors-man, enjoying fishing and hunting. Jim was also a proud father and grandfather, spending time with his family brought great joy and many cherished memories to his life.

He is survived by his wife, Kathy of Tomah; his children, Terry K. Palmer of Waseca, Minn., and Larry J. (Jane) Friske of Tomah; grandchildren, Nathan and Chelsea Palmer, Michael Winter, Nicholas and Megan Friske; great-grandchildren, Morgan, Jayson, Brayden and Addison Palmer; brothers, Arnold Friske of Florida and Ivan (Frieda) Friske of Warrens; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister and brother-in-law, Florence and Mike Buncak; a brother, Paulie; and sisters-in-law, Thelma and Sandy Friske.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 12, St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, 525 Superior Ave., Tomah. Pastor William King will officiate. Inurnment will be in the Oak Grove Cemetery, La Crosse. Relatives and friends are invited for a time of visitation from 10 a.m. until the time of the service Friday at the church. The Sonnenburg Family Funeral Home is assisting. Online condolences may be given at

the life of: James Friske
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