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Jimmy “Jim” Ketz

     Jimmy “Jim” Ketz, 88, passed away Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 at Monroe Manor in Barron, WI after a long battle with Parkinson ’s disease and a brief battle with COVID-19.  Jim was born June 4, 1932 to Samuel and Hazel (Johnson) Ketz on a farm in Vance Creek Township, Barron County. Like his father, he grew up and raised his own family on that farm, which neighbored farms owned by his uncles, cousins and childhood friends. Jim completed the elementary grades at Meadowbrook School and graduated from Clayton High School in 1950. After graduation, he set off out west with friends to Yellowstone Park where he worked as a tour bus driver. Jim enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1952 during the Korean War. He served as a teletype operator in a Mobile Comm Unit at bases in Korea, Japan and China. He was honorably discharged in 1956 with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was proud of his military service and also the honor of marching in President Eisenhower’s inaugural parade.  After his service, Jim lived in St. Paul, MN and worked for Scott-Atwater making outboard motors, until he was called back to help on the family farm. During that time he met JoAnn Witthoft. They married on May 25, 1963 and bought the family farm from Jim’s parents. They raised three children: Barry, Greg and Sarha.  The family attended Faith Lutheran Church in Clayton. Jim was proud of being the church’s first deacon. During those years of farming and child-rearing, the family camped with close friends and Jim enjoyed bowling in a league for many years and attending his kids’ school and sporting events. When his boys graduated high school, Jim enjoyed watching them play slow-pitch softball on weekends. He was proud of all of his kids and talked about them often to his friends. Jim and JoAnn adored their grandchildren and spending time with them – lots of sleepovers, ice cream, tractor rides, Easter egg hunts and school programs. As they grew, he especially enjoyed watching them play sports, rarely missing a game. Jim was a loyal Clayton fan. Jim and JoAnn moved to Monroe Manor in 2017. He missed seeing his Clayton friends, but was still able to get to many of his grandkids’ games with the help of Greg and other family members. A highlight of his week was watching the Badgers and Packers with JoAnn and often Greg. Despite his disabilities, he lived the best possible life, thanks to many kind and caring Monroe Manor and Mayo Hospice staff. He loved to laugh and joke through his entire life, and was no different with his caregivers.
     Surviving are his wife JoAnn of 57 years; sons Barry (Brenda) and Greg; daughter Sarha (Ky) Baumgard; grandchildren Tyler, Cammie (Robert Bodsberg, Jr.) and Kailey Ketz; Abbey (Clay) Dziekan; Samuel and Christopher Baumgard; and many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; a brother Kenny; his father and mother-in-law Homer and Grace (Christianson) Witthoft; brothers-in-law Lynn Larson, Bob Jungmann, Ken, Bob and David Witthoft; sisters-in-law Patricia (Witthoft) Jungmann and Arlene (Steglich) Ketz.
     A private family service will be held Saturday, December 19 at Faith Lutheran Church with Pastor Margaret Grant officiating, and burial with military honors at Clayton Cemetery. A celebration of life is planned for the future.
     Friends and family are invited to sign an online guest book and view a video tribute at www.  Arrangements were made with the Williamson-White Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Amery.

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