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James Friesel

August 5, 1943 ~ January 20, 2019 (age 75)
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Born August 5, 1943 – Passed January 20, 2019 at Pawnee County Memorial Hospital, in Pawnee City, NE.

James (Jim) Lynn Friesel, of Pawnee City, Nebraska was born on August 5, 1943 to Henry Owen Friesel and Mae (Bowne) Friesel in the family home in Weeping Water, Nebraska.  Jim was the youngest of four children.  He was an avid outdoorsman from an early age. As a young boy, Jim and his family would go to Minnesota each summer, staying in a cabin on a lake, boating and fishing. This is where Jim developed his great love of fishing for walleyes. He trapped muskrats and mink in the creeks near the family home and even raised a number of coon hounds.  He and his dad and brothers loved to “go out west” in central Nebraska and hunt pheasants. He attended Weeping Water Public Schools and graduated with the class of 1961.  Jim was a light heavy-weight boxer in high school, only losing one bout. He excelled at football, starting all but one game in his four years and had an opportunity to play at Peru State College, but decided to focus on academics.  His first year at Peru State is where he met his wife, Sharon (Davison) Friesel. Jim and Sharon had a whirlwind romance, falling for each other quickly. They each moved to Lincoln, NE and after a few short months “ran off” to Michigan and eloped in 1962 at the age of 18.  When asked why they went to Michigan, Jim would say “because the only two states where it was legal at 18 were Michigan and Idaho and I didn’t think my old car could make it through the mountains to Idaho”. After marriage, Jim and Sharon lived in Lincoln, NE where they had their three children. The oldest, James Todd was born in 1964, Kimberly Dawn, born in 1966 and Timothy Scott, born in 1971. In 1971 they moved to Ralston, NE where Jim went to work for People’s Natural Gas. In 1979, Jim transferred to Pawnee City so he and Sharon could raise their kids in a small community, much like the towns they had grown up in and around. There they raised their 3 children, James, Kimberly and Timothy. Jim and Sharon were married for 56 years. Jim was an avid hunter, fisherman and trapper and loved spending time outside with his kids and grandkids. Jim had a special fondness for hunting ducks and geese and admitted as he got older that it wasn’t the hunting that he liked as much as he liked the time with friends and family in a duck or goose blind where he had a captive audience. Jim loved watching football and could always tell you who was playing and all the specifics of each team. If you visited during football season, you could bet that he had a game on and would talk you through the game until the end. For the last several years, Jim loved Nebraska Volleyball. He followed the team from early recruiting, right through the end of the season. At times he seemed more like he was in the program with everything he knew about each of the players and John Cook’s strategy for each opponent. 

Jim was a stranger to no one and would take every opportunity to visit with anyone that would listen. He followed his dad’s saying that “a stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet”. Jim was a caring man with a great heart and those close to him knew that he would always be there for them in any and every way that he could. Jim was famous for asking his kids “do I have anything you need” as they would leave from visiting. Jim loved his grandkids beyond words, to the end, telling everyone how smart each is and how proud he was of them. He often told Sharon that she was spoiling them to which she would reply “they’re not spoiled, they’re just well loved”. He was more than a husband, father and grandfather to his family, he was also a dear friend to each, forming a special bond with everyone.  Jim’s health declined in mid-November 2018.  On December 4, 2018 he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer.  His treatment began December 31, 2018 at the Buffet Cancer Center in Omaha.  On January 11, 2019 Jim returned home to Pawnee County Memorial Hospital where he remained with his family until his death on January 20, 2019.

Jim is survived by his wife Sharon Friesel (Pawnee City); son James Friesel (Valley, NE) and daughter Emma Friesel; daughter Kimberly Schaardt and husband Dennis (Steinauer, NE) and children Colton, Courtney and Clayton; son Timothy Friesel and wife Dawn (Auburn, NE) and children Abby and Madison; brother Jed Friesel and wife Sandi (Bellevue, NE); sister Monda Dolan (Louisville, NE); brother-in-law Dan Davison and wife Lorna (Lincoln, NE); sister-in-law Betty Davison (Texas); and many nieces and nephews.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents Henry and Mae Friesel; brother Marvin Friesel; father & mother-in-law Cecil and Viola Davison; brother-in-law Don Davison.

Pallbearers are Colton Schaardt, Clayton Schaardt, Travis Davison, Matt Davison, Scott Hanna and Alan Smyth.

Services 10:00 a.m., Thursday, January 24 at the United Methodist Church, Pawnee City, Nebraska. Officiating Reverend Sherry Sklenar.  Visitation on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with family greeting friends from 5-7 p.m. at Wherry Mortuary, 919 G Street, Pawnee City, Nebraska.  Interment at 2:00 p.m. at Tecumseh Cemetery, Tecumseh, Nebraska.  Memorials to family choice.  Online condolences may be left at www.wherrymortuary.com.

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