ETTRICK — Jim Dezale, 75, of Ettrick passed away Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, after a hard-fought battle with lymphoma and renal failure.
James Henry DeZeeuw was born Nov. 3, 1942, and raised in Pipestone, Minn., on his grandparents’ farm. He changed the spelling of his last name to Dezale in the hope of getting it pronounced correctly (dih ZAYL), with limited success. It was on the farm that he learned to drive tractors and other farm equipment and developed his mechanical skills. Jim served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1964 and was stationed in Germany, working as a diesel mechanic. After leaving the service, he drove semi in Chicago and worked construction. He and his former wife, Carole, moved to Wisconsin in the early 1970s and settled in Holmen, with their daughter, Jodi. Jim worked as a heavy equipment operator for Neitzel Construction, which is where he met his future wife, Lu Ann. Jim and Lu Ann moved to the Hardies Creek area of Ettrick in 1979, with her children, Craig and Becky. Jim continued working as a heavy equipment operator for McHugh Excavating and McLeod Construction, before going into business as Jim Dezale Excavating.
Jim loved everything diesel and insisted on driving diesel trucks and cars; even his lawnmower had to be diesel. He lived to run his equipment-excavators, dozers, scraper, motor grader and his treasured skid steer-and was very good at what he did. His hobby when he wasn’t working, was looking at equipment. In his final days, he enjoyed looking at equipment on YouTube. Jim had a curious mind and he enjoyed reading science magazines. He and his companion, Lucy, enjoyed watching movies together and viewing all the wildlife at the farm, especially while on the trails with his Kubota. Jim had strong opinions and wasn’t afraid to share them, often in colorful ways. He was a very tough guy with a tender heart.
Jim is survived by his beloved friend and partner, Lucy Pohl of Ettrick; daughter, Jodi Dezale of Minneapolis; stepdaughter, Rebecca (Arlan) Lee of Onalaska; stepsons, Craig (Stacy) Evenson of Holmen and Jay Evenson of Arcadia; daughter-in-law, Cindee Evenson of Virginia; granddaughters, Koryn Evenson of Montana and Sam Millard of Holmen; and sister, Arlene DeZeeuw of Grantsburg. He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry DeZeeuw and Winnie DeZeeuw; brother, Jerry DeZeeuw; wife, Lu Ann Dezale; former wife, Carole Dezale; and grandson, Duncan Evenson.
Jim and his family were thankful for the extraordinary care and compassion he received from Mayo Clinic and hospital in La Crosse. Thanks also to Jim’s good friends, Gayle and Norma Conrad, who took charge of the business during Jim’s illness.
Per Jim’s wishes, there will be no memorial service. A very informal gathering for family and friends will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at his shop, W13395 Dezale Lane, Ettrick.
His family requests any memorials be given to a charity of the donor’s choice or to the Oasis Fund for cancer patients at Mayo Clinic.
Coulee Region Cremation Group is assisting the family.