James L. Bakke

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 5:03 pm

James L. Bakke, 73, of Postville and formerly of Decorah, died Sunday morning, July 5, 2015, at his home in Postville. A Celebration of Life visitation is 3-7 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com.
James LeRoy Bakke was born May 19, 1942, in Bloomer, Wis., the son of Vernon and Edith (Campbell) Bakke Sr. As a child James, with his family, moved to Loudington, Wis. He and his brothers attended a one-room schoolhouse. His father Vernon was an award-winning butter maker, leading the Bakke family back to Decorah in 1952, where Vernon and Robert Hodston brought and operated the Decorah Creamery. James attended and graduated from Decorah High School with the class of 1961. Of all his classes and teachers, Carrie Lee, teaching history, was his favorite. After spending the summer working with his father, James joined the United States Army. James completed basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. James was then stationed at Ft. Campbell, Ky. as an artillery specialist. James was discharged in 1964, and moved to Illinois to attend Proviso East School of Nursing. James graduated in the top of his class and was the only male. James began his career as a nurse in neurology at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, Ill., which is affiliated with Loyola University. At the same time, James also began working part-time at Colonial Manner in LaGrange, Ill. He met his future wife Cathy. James and Cathy L. Swanson were married March 14, 1980, in Lemont, Ill. They welcomed their first daughter in 1981 and their second daughter in 1983. The family moved back to Decorah in 1986 and added a son in 1987. James and his family became members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah. James began work as a nurse at Cresco Care Center in the fall of 1987. He retired in 2005 when he then assisted Cathy in running an in-home daycare until 2010.
James is survived by his wife of 35 years, Cathy; three children: Cathy (Lewis) Blair of Decorah, Jamee (Rafael) Xiya of Postville and  David Bakke of San Diego, Calif.; four grandchildren: Dylan and Brayden Bakke, Joseph and Gabriella Xiya; one brother, Vernon Bakke Jr. of Largo, Fla.; two nieces: Cynthia Walsh and Cheryl Bakke; and his faithful dogs: Zhu Zhu and Dolly Day.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Vernon Sr. and Edith; and one brother, Dennis.

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