James Wodash, 73, Willmar

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 9, 2007

James A. Wodash, age 73, of Willmar, formerly of Albert Lea, died Wednesday morning, March 7, at his home following an extended illness.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, at the Church of St. Mary with Rev. Joseph Steinbeisser. The interment will be in the church cemetery. Military Honors will be provided by the Willmar VFW and American Legion. Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m., Sunday at the Peterson Brothers Funeral Home and at the church one hour prior to the services.

Parish Prayer service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

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James Allen Wodash was born on Jan. 16, 1934, in Browerville, the son of Philamina M. (Becker) and Alex G. Wodash. James was baptized at St.

Joseph&8217;s Catholic Church in Browerville and as a young child moved with his family to Clarissa where he grew up and received his education. He joined the Air Force in 1951 and returned home in 1953 and continued working at his father&8217;s Coast to Coast Store. On July 24, 1954, he married Phyllis Jean Lunser in Clarissa. In 1955, they moved to Babbitt where James worked for the Reserve Mining Company. He re-enlisted in the Air Force in 1957 and was stationed in Dover, Delaware, and later Murfreesboro, Tennessee, before being discharged in 1960. They returned to Babbitt, where he continued working with the Reserve Mining Company and got his start in golf course care. The mining company built a golf course and Jim volunteered his time to help build and care for it. They moved to Albert Lea in 1967 and he worked full time as the greens superintendent until 1977 when they moved to Willmar and Jim was the grounds and road supervisor at the Willmar State Hospital until 1979. He then went to work for the Willmar Golf Course as greens superintendent until he retired in 1999. James had been a religion teacher in Babbitt and Albert Lea, Cub Scout Master in Babbitt, on the youth board in Albert Lea and was instrumental in getting a teen center established. He also coached youth hockey in Albert Lea and Willmar and was former member of the Knights of Columbus in Albert Lea. He was a life member of the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association and served on their board and a member of the Willmar Elks and served on the board. He loved his family and to &8220;tinker.&8221; Jim enjoyed the outdoors, gardening, flowers, working on his lawn, his outdoor pond, looking for antiques, auction sales and refinishing older furniture.

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, seven children; Jane (and Lon) Nielsen of Willmar, Steve (and Jill) Wodash of Willmar, Kate Wodash of Austin, Texas, Tom (and Deb) Wodash of Willmar, Maggie (and Tom) Pfeifer of Osseo, John (and Sylvia) Wodash of Willmar and Chris (and Dean) Randt of Mora. Also surviving are 18 grandchildren, one great grandson and one brother, Charles (and JoAnn) Wodash of Miltona, besides other relatives and friends. James was preceded in death by his parents and one granddaughter (Jessica).