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Jim R. Franke

May 11, 2019 GMT

ASHIPPUN -- Jim R. Franke, age 71, of Ashippun, unexpectedly passed away on Thursday, May 2, 2019, surrounded by family.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 47 years, Shari (Southcott), and his children Kirsten (Dave) Stilke of Elkhorn and Kim (Scott) Johns of Centennial, Colorado. Jim is survived by his adoring grandchildren, Mason Stilke and Noah and Zoe Johns. He is further survived by his sister Mary Lee (Jim) Matthes; his sister-in-law, Sandy Solheim; and brother-in-law, Gary (Jill) Southcott, along with many other cousins, nieces, nephews and close friends.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents Ruben and Meta (Braunshcweig) Franke, Roy and Carol Southcott, and his loving granddaughter Livia Grace Stilke.

Jim was a lifetime resident of Ashippun and often joked that he had the same ZIP code his entire life. He and Shari raised their girls in the town he was so dedicated to. Jim was a volunteer firefighter for the Ashippun Fire Department for well over 30 years. His dedication to the fire department was evident as he was fire chief for 17 of those years. He was the past president of the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association.

He pursued a career in sales, selling industrial/agricultural equipment eventually leading him into the retail market. He loved sales; meeting new people, and would impress us all with having each of his contacts numbers memorized. The relationships he made were not only customers to Jim, but lifelong friends.

Jim loved his family and friends more than anything. They will always remember his incredible laugh and eagerness to have fun! His motto with the fire department and in life was, “We work hard, but we play harder.”

Jim was passionate in his role as current president for the Ashippun Lions Club. He was a devoted parishioner of Zion Lutheran Church in Ashippun. He enjoyed golfing, playing euchre and sheepshead with buddies, his Kubota tractor and of course the Green Bay Packers. However, Jim’s primary passion was his family. That was evident every single day.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Thursday, May 16, at Zion Lutheran Church in Ashippun. Visitation will be held from 1-5 p.m., with a service to follow at 5 p.m.

Memorials in Jim’s honor are suggested to the Ashippun Fire Department, Ashippun Lions Club or to Zion Lutheran Church in Ashippun.

Pagenkopf Funeral Home

1165 E. Summit Ave. Oconomowoc