James “Jim” R. Lebens, age 91 of Savage, passed away on September 2, 2017. Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 11AM with a visitation 1-hour prior, all at St. Michael Catholic Church, Prior Lake.
Jim was born in Montgomery, MN on December 25, 1925 to John and Albina (Franta) Lebens. He grew up in Montgomery along with his siblings, Robert and Joan. He graduated early from Montgomery High School to enlist in the Army Air Corps. He served in the SW Pacific theater during WWII as a navigator and later got his pilot’s license. After the war, he graduated from St. Thomas College with a BA degree in Economics. He worked in the U.S. and Greenland as a Human Relations Manager for the North Atlantic Construction Co., who was contracted to build an air base in Thule Greenland. “Owning his own business was his ultimate goal” said his son John. Jim bought the Ford dealership in Stewartville, MN in 1953 and in 1964, he purchased the Ford dealership in Austin, MN where he built a new facility and operated it for 20 years. Jim loved the car business and won many accolades during his 31 years in the industry.
In 1972, he and his brother Bob co-founded the 1st State Bank of Apple Valley. They built a new building and became the first bank to open in the community. He served on the 1st National Bank of Stewartville board of directors and was a member of the American Legion, the Elk’s, the Austin Flying Club and participated in many auto dealer boards and committees.
Always active, Jim enjoyed boating, tennis, golf and flying. He spent many summers at the family cabin on Whitefish Lake and later, boating on the Mississippi and wintering in Arizona.
He was an energetic, caring and generous man who always saw the good in others. He is survived by his children, John (Jane) Lebens, Bob (Melinda) Lebens, Ann Lebens, Mary (Matt) Abbott, Jim Lebens and their mother, Corrine McCarthy; Michele Lebens and her children, Christopher Peterson, Nicholas (Rachel) Peterson; 5 grandchildren and sister-in-law, Pearl Lebens.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Robert Lebens, and sister, Joan (Dick) Keaveny. Memorials to the NC Little Hospice in Edina, MN or the Animal Humane Society.