James R. Widmer

  • Born: May 1, 1926
  • Died: December 25, 2019
  • Location: Theresa, Wisconsin

Koepsell Funeral & Cremation Services, Mayville

301 North Walnut Street
Mayville, WI 53050

Tel. (920) 387-4440

Tribute & Message From The Family

James Richard Widmer went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Christmas Day of 2019. He was reunited with the love of his life, Shirley, along with many dear family members and friends.

Jim was born on May 1, 1926, in Theresa, Wisconsin, the son of Swiss immigrants John Otto Widmer & Marie (Vaulett) Widmer. He grew up in a residence above Widmer's Cheese Cellars, the family's cheese business, in Theresa.

Jim was a 1944 graduate of Mayville High School. Following high school, he served his country in World War II with the 77th Infantry Division in Okinawa. He also participated in the occupation of Japan and was very proud to be a member of the Greatest Generation.

On November 9, 1957, he was united in marriage with Shirley Borgman. They were married for 56 wonderful years when Shirley passed away in 2014.
Jim was a lifelong member of St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church. He was also very involved with the Theresa Historical Society and was a member of Miller-Justman-Guelig American Legion Post #270.

Jim was a lifelong cheesemaker, and with his two brothers John and Ralph, operated Widmer's Cheese Cellars following in the footsteps of their father John O. Widmer who started the business in 1922. He was extremely proud that the family business has been carried on by his nephew Joe and his great-nephew Joey.

Jim was an avid bicyclist up to age 85, often meeting his friend Bob Coulter very early in the morning on a sixteen-mile ride on the backcountry roads between Mayville and Theresa.

Photography was Jim's lifelong passion. His photographs are archived in the Theresa Library, Lomira Quad Graphics Library, and online at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Jim was extremely proud of his four grandchildren and also had the special blessing of meeting his first great-grandchild.

Jim will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. He is survived by his, daughters: Brenda (Joseph) Wilz and Kay (Larry) Hren, all of Neenah; grandchildren: Chelsey (Adam) Marshall of Plymouth, MN, Parker Hren (special friend Maureen Sullivan) of Madison, WI, Logan Wilz of Neenah, WI, and Carly (Germain) Stewart of San Diego, CA; and great-grandson Liam Marshall of Plymouth, MN. He is also survived by several nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife Shirley, parents John and Marie Widmer, brothers John and Ralph Widmer, sister Ruth Wray, and granddaughter Angella Wilz.

The family would like to extend thanks to all of the special people who helped make Jim's last years so amazing: Angie, dear friend; Sarah, favorite therapist; Richard, excellent photographer and friend; Kandy, bicycling and photography friend; Chuck, groundskeeper and "go to" guy; Steve, landscaper; Chris, pet sitter; Sharon, project assistant; Jim, fellow Theresa historian; Jerry, church companion and longtime friend; Walter & Alice, loyal friends and frequent visitors; special niece Rose and her husband Fritz; and special nephew Joe, his wife Penny, their son Joey, and daughter Hannah; and many other loved family members and friends.

Special thanks for the tender, loving care provided by Hope Health and Rehabilitation, Hope Senior Living, and Agnesian Hospice.

Memorials in Jim's name can be directed to St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Theresa, WI or Theresa Historical Society.

A memorial service will be held at St. Peters Evangelical Lutheran Church, 113 E. Bonduel St., Theresa, WI at 3:00 pm on Friday, January 3, 2020 with Pastor Jon Learman officiating. A visitation will also be held at the church from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Military Honors will follow the service conducted by the Miller- Justman- Guelig American Legion Post #270. A celebration of Jim's life will be held at the Theresa Town Hall, N8679 County Rd. P, Theresa, WI following the memorial service.


Condolence & Memory Journal

We met Jim and Shirley over 15 years ago on a European bike tour with UWSP. We kept up with them through Christmas cards over the years. We were saddened when Shirley passed away in 2014, and are sorry to hear that Jim left us on Christmas Day. We will miss him, and the wonderful photographs he often included in his cards.

Posted by George and Nancy Kern - Littleton, CO - Friend   January 05, 2020

I've put this in print, back in 2010, but it bears repeating. Jim and Shirley, your kindness and friendship will be treasured forever. You have touched the hearts of those around you more than you will ever know. Thanks for sharing the Widmer charm.

Posted by John Esselman - Fitchburg, WI - Friend   December 31, 2019

My condolences to the extended Widmer family on Jims passing. He also helped wear the edges off the grey bricks creating the elusive "Brick Cheese" through the decades.
Rest know Mr. Cheese Jim,
Send a photo of heaven.
God Bless,

Posted by Chic & Jan Wagner - Lake Winnebago   December 31, 2019

An iconic member of the community of Theresa. Man of history through his photography. Richard A Swalby

Posted by Richard Swalby - Theresa, WI - Neighbor   December 30, 2019

So sorry for your loss. I enjoyed talking to him. He was always so nice. His photographs, oh his photographs! The service to his country helped keep us free.

Posted by Linda Domke - Theresa, WI - Acquaintance   December 28, 2019

Family Album