James Douglas Uecke, 86, went to the big garden in the sky, peacefully with is family by his side, Wednesday, November 20, 2013, after a two year struggle with cancer. He was born in Menominee, Mich. on March 15, 1927, to Fred J. and Marie (Hruska) Uecke.
Jim attended Menominee High School, class of 1945. He joined the United States Navy Seabees served in the South Pacific, World War II from 1945-1946. On October 30, 1948, he married, Mary Dufrisne, they had just celebrated their 65th Anniversary. He was a member of the Bethel Lutheran Church, Menominee, Michigan. The Uecke family was well known as tradesmen in the Bricklayers Union, with most of his brothers working alongside him on many of the buildings in this area. He would always take his family on Sunday drives, pointing out which buildings he had built. As of late his favorite saying was, "I must be getting old, they're tearing all of the buildings down that we worked on, and I guess my 100 year warranty has expired!" He was also a staunch supporter of Veterans groups in the area. Jim was instrumental in getting the first DAV Transportation Van for local Veteran's that needed a ride to the VA Hospital. He was Past Commander of the Menominee VFW Post 1887, District VFW Commander, and most recently 14 years the Commander of the DAV Chapter 25. It was his pride and joy in life, to serve others and give back to local Veterans. His joy in life was gardening, specifically tomatoes. Many people in the twin cities knew Jim as the "Tomato King". He would share his bounty with many people.
Jim is survived by his wife, Mary; his four daughters lovingly called: #1 Linda (Rob) Ecker of Sheboygan, Wis., #2 Debby (Roger) Henning, Sharon, Wis., #3 Carla (Joe) Wagner, Crivitz, Wis. and #4, Kelly (Jack) Owen, Menomonie, Wis.; three grandchildren: Robert (Renee) Ecker of Sheboygan, Wis., Andy Ecker of Sheboygan, Wis. and Casey Owen of Menomonie, Wis. He is survived by sisters: Glenne Waugus, Menasha, Wis., Jane (Wally) Garner, Machesney Park, Ill., Jean (Harry) Ruff, Marinette, Wis., Claryce Maedke, Coleman, Wis.; brothers: Warden "Mose" (Joyce) Uecke and Jack (Nora) Uecke, Menominee, Mich.; sisters-in-law: Patricia (Russell) Uecke, and Judy (Daniel) Uecke. He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant son, Alan; brothers: Fred "Gus" Uecke, Russell Uecke, Daniel Uecke and Kenneth Uecke.
Visitation will be held on Monday November 25th, 2013 at Anderson-Kell Funeral Home Menominee, Mich. from 4 p.m., with a Veteran's Service at 6 p.m., followed by a prayer service with Pastor Scott Ehle officiating.
Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery in Monominee, Mich.
A special thank you to Dr. Halaweh, Dr. Kahn, Pastor Scott Ehle, and the staff at BAMC, for their caring and understanding. As many know Jim had a wicked sense of humor, even to the very end, which he used to make a tough situation much easier for all of us. "CUT THE PIE!" His unique phrases will be our legacy.
A Memorial Fund has been established, any expressions of sympathy will be distributed amongst Jim's favorite Veterans organizations.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.andersondiehm.com.