James Joseph Shields, age 69, of Darwin, died Saturday, March 23, 2013, at his home, after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born Dec. 25, 1943, in Carroll, IA, the son of Patrick and Mary Lucille (O’Connell) Shields. Jim was baptized as an infant at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Denison, IA, and was later confirmed in his faith as a youth at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Vail, IA.
He received his education in Wall Lake, IA, and was a graduate of the Wall Lake High School class of 1962.
Jim entered active military service in the United States Navy Feb. 11, 1966, and served his country during the Vietnam War. He received an honorable discharge Feb. 10, 1969, and continued to serve in the Naval Reserves until Oct. 13, 1971.
Jim was united in marriage to Jean Miller Nov. 8, 1969, at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Carroll, IA. This marriage was blessed with four children, Kim, Kris, David, and Karla.
Jim and Jean resided in various cities until they moved to Darwin in 1977. They shared 43 years of marriage.
Jim held employment as a custodian for the Dassel/Cokato School District from 1998 until 2009, when he retired.
He attended St. John’s Catholic Church in Darwin, and was a member of the Litchfield Golf Club.
Jim loved to golf. Last summer, after his chemotherapy appointment, he decided to keep his tee time (although he didn’t feel up to it) and had his first hole-in-one. He was an avid sports fan and liked to watch any kind of sports on television.
Jim especially enjoyed the time he spent with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife, Jean Shields of Darwin; children, Kim Gelling and her husband, Josh of Big Lake, Kris Schlink and her husband, Jeff of Ramsey, David Shields and his wife, Kate of Roseville, and Karla Saeger and her husband, Justin of Apple Valley; grandchildren Keeley and Emma Gelling, Kaitlyn Schlink, and Holden Shields; a brother, Patrick Shields and his wife, Maureen of Omaha, NE; a sister, MaryAnn Badding and her husband, Bill of Carroll, IA; nieces; nephews; and many other relatives and friends.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Patrick and Mary Lucille Shields; and a brother, Paul Shields.
A memorial service took place Tuesday, March 26 at noon at St. John’s Catholic Church in Darwin, with interment in the church cemetery. Father Jim Devorak officiated. Terri Orzolek was the organist, and soloist Shirley Weinzetl sang “Ave Maria.” Congregational hymns were “Amazing Grace,” “Be Not Afraid,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “On Eagle’s Wings.”
Jim’s family were urn bearers.
Honorary bearers were Jim’s grandchildren, Keeley Gelling, Emma Gelling, Kaitlyn Schlink, and Holden Shields.
Military honors were provided by the Litchfield Military Honor Guard.
Arrangements were handled by the Hantge Funeral Chapel in Darwin. Online obituaries and guest book are available at www.hantge.com; click on Obituaries/ Death Notices.