James Gulbrandson, 84, Albert Lea

Published 9:45 am Thursday, November 10, 2011

The memorial service for James E. Gulbrandson, of Albert Lea, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the First Lutheran Church Chapel, Albert Lea. The Rev. John Holt will officiate. Interment will be in Hillcrest Cemetery. Friends may visit with family one hour before the service at the church. Bonnerup Funeral Service is assisting the family with arrangements.

Jim died on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, at St. John’s Lutheran Home. He was 84.


He was born on June 21, 1927, in Minneapolis, the son of Henry and Anna Van Atta. Jim and his twin sister June, along with older sisters were brought to the Owatonna Orphanage in 1930. Jim was adopted by Casper and Alma (Jensen) Gulbrandson in 1931 and grew up loved and happy. As a teenager in the 1940s, during the war, Jim had worked for KATE Radio. He graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1945. Jim married Donna Mae Schroeder on June 21, 1952, at the First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea. Throughout his life he had worked for Knutson Chevrolet, Jewell’s Radio Shop, Gordon Electric and Dickerman Appliance. There was also a period of time when he operated the Electronic Service Center out of his backyard shop, fixing TV’s, radios, CB’s and everything electronic. He talked on the HAM radio for many years to people around the world. His call letters were WOFJH.

Email newsletter signup

He is survived by his daughter, Julie (Howard) Schewe, of Albert Lea; sons: Kim Gulbrandson and Randy Gulbrandson, of Albert Lea; grandsons: Andrew Schewe and Randy Gulbrandson Jr., also of Albert Lea; twin sister, June of Cannon Falls.

He was preceded in death by his dad in 1959; mother in 1991; wife Donna in 1998; daughter Joni Kaye in 1955; sisters: Gladys Turnbull, Lorraine Ochs, Alice Heller and Audrey Lenz .

Jim always put his family’s needs first and will be fondly remembered for kind generous spirit.