James Williams



James Williams, endearingly known as Jim, entered this world in rare and commemorative fashion. Born in Mondovi, the first child of Don and Elsie Williams, Jim was born on New Year’s Day exactly in the middle of the twentieth century – Jan. 1, 1950. His birth on the world’s most celebrated holiday - a day renowned for embracing and celebrating life; a time to focus on our most beloved; a moment to reflect, evolve, and garner wisdom; and an opportunity to view life from a refreshing perspective as people move closer to their goals and dreams – was no coincidence. Those very things that make the New Year holiday so popular and special, also perfectly describes the mentalities, mantras, and life of Jim Williams.

Charming, intelligent, friendly, curious, and loyal were traits Jim possessed since he was a young boy. He displayed them with zeal, regardless of scenario and situation, allowing him to curate a multitude of diverse childhood memories. In youth, though he loved sports and being with his friends, some of his favorite childhood times were visiting the farm of his grandparents, Wilhelm (Pa) and Louise (Ma) Heike, where he’d lend a helping hand and also learned to hunt. He also loved going to work with his mom and dad at their family business, Williams Frozen Foods, a place where he would develop his tenacious work ethic and passionately craft his skills for meat processing.

After graduating from Durand High School, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire where he focused on developing his business acumen. Four years later, he graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Management. But the curiosity and extreme work ethic present since his youth was now even more intense, and as a person that strongly believed in exceeding expectations, Jim enrolled in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin – Stout, exiting with a degree in Occupational Safety and Health. He was regarded as one of the most prolific students to graduate from that program and thus was invited back as a visiting instructor to relay the knowledge that propelled him to be one of the most respected minds in the Risk Management industry.

Jim was very proud of his career as Vice President of Risk Management at Bor-Son Construction Companies in Bloomington, Minn. from 1981-2009, followed by a position at Bauer Built Tire and Service in Durand from 2011-2023 as their Director of Safety & Risk Management.

Jim had the talents to be whatever he wanted to become in life, but ultimately and honorably, his paramount purpose and passion was to be a family man. He married the love of his life, Pam Weiss, who became Pam Williams on July 30, 1977. For almost 50 years, from their very first date to their 46th wedding anniversary, Jim was completely lovestruck. Seemingly every day throughout their marriage, Jim viewed Pam as the most precious and beautiful gem in the world, proclaiming her to be “The Total Package” and he treated her as such, as he dedicated his life to providing, protecting, cherishing, and honoring the woman of his dreams.

There was nothing Jim would not do for Pam, and that same philosophy extended to his two boys, James Jr., born in 1981, and Jason, born in 1983. Though gifted in academics, business, and the outdoors, Jim’s true calling was being a father. He was the quintessential dad: selfless, strong, attentive, altruistic, wise, loving, dependable, trustworthy, and consistent. He was a consummate leader who instilled knowledge, excellence, values, morals, and ethics by both instruction and example.

The goal of every parent is to provide their children with a better life, and Jim did that with exhaustive sacrifice but simultaneously with a huge smile. His favorite moments with his sons were just having them by his side with Pam. Whether it was going hunting, attending their hockey games, taking family trips, watching the Green Bay Packers, or gathering for the holidays, Jim’s eyes twinkled brightest and his soul was happiest when his family was together. Some of his most cherished memories later in life were created at the family deer camp near Nine Mile Island along the Chippewa River.

Jim Williams is a man that cannot be defined by words, let alone a few paragraphs. He was an intellectual giant, a dynamic person, and an extraordinary professional. He was a revered husband, father, brother, friend, businessman, leader, mentor, confidant, outdoorsman, renaissance man, butcher, and hero.

On Friday morning, April 26, the earth wobbled on its axis momentarily as the balance of this planet was slightly off-kilter, as the world’s weight shifted without Jim Williams.

Jim is survived by his wife, Pam; children, James Williams, Colfax, Wis., and Jason (Dani) Williams of Woodbury, Minn.; brother, John Williams, Durand, Wis.; sister, Jean (Ron) Weiss, Durand, Wis.; mother-in-law, Doris Weiss, Baldwin, Wis.; cousins, nieces, nephews, and many friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Elsie Williams, father-in-law, Gilbert Weiss, and brother-in-law, Curtis Weiss.

Visitation was held May 3, 2024, at Rhiel Funeral Home and Cremation Services from 4-7 p.m. in Durand, Wis. A private family burial service is scheduled for Saturday at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Durand.

A Celebration of Life will take place Saturday, May 11, 2024, at the Durand Rod & Gun Club from noon to 4 p.m.

Rhiel Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Durand, is serving the family.

Condolences may be made online at www.rhielfuneralhome.com.