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James Wika

GRENVILLE- James Wika, 60, of Eagan, MN and formally of Grenville died Sunday, March 12, 2006 at Augustana Health Care Center in Apple Valley, MN Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, March 18, 2006 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Grenville. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the church. Fiksdal Funeral Service of Webster is in charge of the arrangements. James T. Wika was born on January 28, 1946 in Webster S. D. to Raymond and Cecilia (Lesnar) Wika. He was baptized at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Grenville, South Dakota and attended St. Joseph Catholic School in Grenville through 8th grade. At the age of 14, Jim’s health problems began when he was diagnosed with diabetes. After graduating from Rosyln High School in 1964 he earned his auctioneering license from Reisch American School of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. Jim worked for the State of South Dakota in the Conservation Department for 12 years until his eyesight began deteriorating causing him to move to Minneapolis for rehabilitation training. As he was losing his eyesight, Jim learned to do woodworking through the Minnesota State Services for the Blind and the Courage Centers Homecrafters program. In February 1978 Jim meet Peggy Dahlmeier at an Out Of Sight Dinner for the blind. They were married on September 23, 1978 and along with Peggy’s daughter, Nancy, they made their home in Eagan, Minnesota. Jim made and sold such items as picture frames, cribbage boards, and footstools at area craft shows. Peggy died of a heart attack in 1983 at the age of 38. With the help of neighbors, friends, and constant companion Irene Taylor, Jim continued to live at home and work his crafts. In 1985 Jim was the first to receive a double transplant of a kidney and pancreas at the University of Minnesota Hospital by Dr. John Najarian. On August 14, 1993 he married Sandra Morehouse in Burnsville, Minnesota. He continued with his woodworking crafts until health problems forced him to discontinue. Jim suffered a stroke on December 1, 2000 and with the help of Sandy, he continued to remain at his home in Eagan until January of 2006 when health issues forced him to enter a Health Care Center. Jim passed away on Sunday, March 12, 2006 at the Apple Valley Health Care Facility at the age of 60 years, 1 month, and 12 days. He died peacefully and was surrounded by family and friends. He is survived by his wife Sandy; his parents, Raymond and Cecilia Wika of Clarkfield, Minnesota; 2 brothers; Tom (Glenda) Wika of Thornton, Colorado and Larry Wika of Edina, Minnesota; 3 sisters; Marge (Richard) Jolstad of Cottonwood, Minnesota, Marcy (Duane) Dahl of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Barb (Bret) Bauer of Gettysburg South Dakota; 6 stepchildren; 10 step grandchildren; several nieces; nephews; and cousins. He will be greatly missed by all of those who loved and adored him. His love for life will be a great inspiration for all of us who knew him. Blessed be his memory.

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