James Gustafson, 75, sadly died on July 23, 2014.
He was born to Albin and Mabel (Turnquist) on Sept. 8, 1938.
Jim, a graduate of Shattuck Military Academy, went on to earn a degree in Economics and History from Ohio Wesleyan University. Jim continued his military involvement after high school by serving in the United States Marine Corp Reserves. After college, Jim returned to Duluth to run the family business, A&E Supply Company. While at A&E, Jim joined the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO). It was there where he met lifelong friends that not only discussed their love for business but devoted their time and resources to many charities. Giving back was important to Jim and he was proud of the charities that he and his friends supported. He served as Chairman of the United Way and was an active Board member at Woodland Hills home for adolescents in Duluth.
In 1961, Jim married his college sweetheart, Patricia Scheiderick, and together they firmly planted their roots in Duluth and raised their family. There was no question that Jim would remain in the city where he was born and raised. He loved Duluth and all that it had to offer, especially the winter months! As a child he and his friends would explore the woods and streams of Chester Creek Park. His love for that area was paid homage in the naming his company, Chester Creek Technology, where he was still fondly working as CEO until he passed away.
Not long after he moved back to Duluth, Jim became involved in the community. He served on both the Duluth City Council and the Duluth Planning Commission. He was the founder of the Taxpayers Committee of 10,000, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and was a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business. He was proud of his involvement in the turnaround of Duluth, particularly downtown, during the 1980's. He considered these important civic projects and his entrepreneurial spirit fed his political involvement.
In 1985, Jim was elected three times to the state Senate and represented the 8th District until his appointment in 1992 as the Commissioner of the Iron Range Rehabilitation and Resources Board (IRRRB). Although he had many legislative accomplishments, obtaining the funding for the dam in his beloved Hartley Field nature preserve gave him great joy. Seeing others enjoying the area and knowing the animals had a beautiful habitat gave him fulfillment.
Jim's love for sports started at a young age and he was elected captain of the Shattuck football team. He was a devoted fan of UMD athletics, particularly football, hockey and women's volleyball.
Besides the time spent with his children and grandchildren, one of Jim's greatest joys in life was spending time on Lake Superior. He cherished his time relaxing at Brighton Beach, watching the waves lapping on the shore and skipping rocks with anyone who was willing. Several times a summer he would gather his friends for boat rides on his beloved "Swede Dreams." His summers were always capped off with a boat trip to Bayfield, Wis., with his good friends.
Faith was important to Jim and he was a lifelong member of Glen Avon Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon and treasurer. Often times members would be greeted with his infectious smile as they entered the sanctuary.
Jim was always upbeat and quick with a joke or a story. He cherished the time he spent with friends and family. He will be deeply missed by the many people whose lives he impacted.
Jim is preceded in death by his wife, Patricia "Pat"; his parents; and his sister, Elizabeth "Betty" Celusta Eichhorn.
He is survived by sons Eric (Lyn) and Stephen (Debi); daughter Jill; grandchildren Halle, Carlie, Ben and Charlie Gustafson, all of the Twin Cities; brother Earl (Donna) of St Paul; and sister Carol (Roger) Johnson of Portland, Maine. In addition to many nieces and nephews, Jim is also survived by dear friend and partner of many years, Marlene David.
VISITATION: 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 6, in Glen Avon Presbyterian Church 2105 Woodland Ave. and will continue from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Funeral Service on Thursday, Aug. 7, also in Glen Avon Presbyterian Church. Burial will take place at Forest Hill Cemetery. In the spirit of Jim's generosity, the family asks that in lieu of flowers memorials be sent to Woodland Hills, UMD Athletics, or a charity of the donor's choice. Please leave a memory of Jim or words of support at www.bellbrothersjarvidowd.com