Jim Thomes

Jim Thomes, age 71, passed away on January 31, 2019, surrounded by his wife and daughters at his home in Lakeville, MN.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, February 12, at 11 am, with a visitation two hours prior, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 16311 Duluth Avenue SE, Prior Lake. Father Tom Walker will preside. Military honors provided by the Prior Lake V.F.W Honor Guard will immediately follow the mass.  A private family interment will be held at a later date at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery. Memorials are preferred and will be distributed in Jim’s memory, by the family. Pallbearers will be Kevin Keil, Jerry Ries, Bruce Thomes, Charlie Schletz, Joe Schletz, Bruce Keil, Tom Kratz and Dick Vogen.

Five short months ago Jim was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He approached this challenge with his usual go-forward, positive, organized and detailed self.  His journey relied on the strength of his faith, family and friends.  All of which he had in abundance.    

James Karl Thomes was born July 28, 1947, in Arlington, MN. He was the oldest of Karl Nicholas and Mary Renee (Galarneault) Thomes’ five children. From his pre-teen through college years, Jim worked alongside his father, grandmother and uncles at Thomes Brothers Hardware.  During his high school years Jim was active in football, track, basketball and band.  He graduated as salutatorian from Arlington High School in 1965.    

Jim graduated in 1969 from St. John’s University with a major in mathematics.  That same year he entered officer training with the US Navy.  Jim served active duty for six years and retired as a Commander after 20 years as a member of the Navy Reserves.  In 1980 Jim earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of St. Thomas.   

Jim spent his professional years in banking, the first 20 years with First National Bank in St. Paul and the next 22 years in Corporate Trust with Norwest Bank/Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.   Jim retired at the age of 65 and enjoyed his hobby as a part-time consultant during retirement for a New York rating agency.  Consulting kept him sharp and engaged…. and enabled him to work from home in Lakeville, Florida or at the cabin. 

Jim’s greatest life adventure began the summer after graduating from St. John’s in 1969.  On an airplane to Europe with a large group of students, he sat across the aisle from a girl from St. Cloud State named Kathy Schletz.  Little did he know, that girl would become the love of his life and that plane ride just the first of countless trips around the globe together.   

On Tuesday, August 24, 1970 Jim and Kathy were married at St. Joseph Catholic Church in St. Paul.  Jim returned from Officer training the day before and the newlywed couple had just five days to report to Jim’s assignment in Georgia. After Georgia, their time as an active duty Navy couple brought them to Guam (twice), San Francisco and Seattle before returning home to Minneapolis. While in Guam, daughters Tara and Kelley were born.    

Spending quality time with family was important to Jim and along with Kathy, Tara and Kelley, he enjoyed their annual vacations on Sanibel Island and weekends up at the cabin in Emily, MN.  As the girls got older, Jim and Kathy developed a close group of friends with whom they have visited 6 continents and shared dozens of European adventures.  As a grandfather to five girls, Jim was always up for a game of Go Fish or Mexican Train at the lake and could manage putting worms on, and taking fish off, of five poles simultaneously!  He loved pontoon boat rides and reading a good book on the deck.  He was a great texter and never missed an opportunity to send words of encouragement to his five granddaughters.     

A new tradition of vising Lake of the Woods with a group of friends began post-retirement and was a trip he so enjoyed.  Several years ago, he created the Men’s Informal Lunch Klub (MILK) to keep his group of 20+ travel friends connected.  Jim and Kathy enjoyed sharing a glass of wine with friends and family at sunset up at the lake and at their home in Bonita Springs.   

Those who knew Jim, knew he was a good person.  He was a leader, a mentor, a teacher.  Jim was honest and compassionate.  He prayed for peace in our world and wisdom for the leaders of our nation and the Church.  He was kind, generous and believed in the inherent good in everyone.  For many years he visited the homes of friends, family and coworkers in the weeks prior to Christmas to share the magic of Santa Claus.  He studied the activities of each child he visited to ensure they felt loved and special.  This simple activity brought him so much joy!     

Jim touched so many lives and changed them for the better.  He will be remembered and cherished always by his wife Kathy; daughter, Tara (Kevin) Keil and their daughters, Leah, Brenna, Alicia; daughter, Kelley (Jerry) Ries and their daughters, Ellen, Abigail; siblings, Jean (Bill) Heltmes, Mike (Cindy) Thomes, Bruce (Kim) Thomes, Beth (Mark) Olson; other relatives and friends.  Welcoming Jim home in eternal peace are his parents, Karl and Renee.   

Ballard-Sunder Funeral and Cremation proudly served and cared for the Thomes family. 


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Condolence Messages

  1. My Deepest Condolences to his beloved wife Kathy and his daughters and grandkids! Praying for Peace and Comfort during this most difficult time.

    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4”

  2. I used to work with Tara. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family at this time. So sorry to hear the news.

  3. What a blessing we have as Christians to know that Jim’s last breath on earth was not an end but a beginning to a life we can only imagine….Kathy and Tara and Kelli: Tim and I have you and your families in our thoughts and prayers.

  4. My heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends. May you find some comfort in the promise found in Revelation 21: 3-4 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14. Knowing that there is an opportunity to be reunited with loved ones.

  5. Karen Wieman Chance

    I would like to send my condolences to Jim’s family. I went to high school with Jim, and we graduated in 1965. He was always very kind, and was a friend to all in school. I saw him at a reunion several years ago, and we had a good time reminiscing about the past! I know he will be missed by many.
    You are all in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

  6. Donna Johnson Stottler

    Dear Kathy, I am so sorry for your loss! You had an incredible marriage with Jim. God’s amazing grace will get you through this pain.

  7. Our deepest condolences to Kathy, Tara and Kelli and to the whole Thomes family. We will always remember Jim as a positive and lovable person and feel lucky to have met him. We are close to you in this time of sorrow.
    Roberto, Elisabetta, Domenico, Antonio, Giorgio and all your friends at Timeaway

  8. Bruce & Carol Keil

    Dear Kathy, Tara, Kelly, and families,

    We join you in grieving the loss of Jim. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend. We will miss him greatly.
    We want you all to know that we are willing and committed to help you in any way that we can in the days ahead.
    Bruce and Carol

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