Cover photo for James "Jim" Cully's Obituary
James "Jim" Cully Profile Photo
1956 James 2019

James "Jim" Cully

April 27, 1956 — May 25, 2019

James "Jim" M. Cully, age 63, of Willmar, died unexpectedly on Saturday, May 25, at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 31, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bird Island.  Interment will be in the church cemetery.  Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. with parish prayers at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar.  Visitation will also continue for one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday.

James “Jim” Michael Cully was born on April 27, 1956, in Olivia, Minnesota, the son of Francis and Mary (Kaul) Cully.  He grew up in Bird Island, was baptized and confirmed at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and graduated from Bird Island High School in 1974.  Jim began his career at Jennie-O Turkey Store in 1980 and was closing in on the 40 year mark. The first half of his career was in plant operations at plant one while the second half was in live production, scheduling birds to the plant.

For more than 20 years of scheduling, Jim was a main point of contact for the Jennie-O Turkey Store company farms and contract farms. For a lot of folks, Jim was the face of JOT-S to them during all the conversations.  Those daily conversations were what Jim enjoyed most about his job. Over time, building relationships with growers allowed for the good and bad of scheduling but Jim always kept the door open to keep talking. Those relationships and the time talking over the phone were about a lot more than just getting turkeys to the plant.  Jim's favorite days of the year were grower meetings, a time when he could turn the phone time into face-to-face handshakes and greetings.  On a daily basis Jim spoke with a wide range of people, so we know almost everyone has a Jim story.

Hunting, fishing, word find and crossword puzzles, his pets, country music and cooking were some of the things Jim enjoyed most. Being outdoors working in his yard was play work. Each year there would be a real vacation when he'd join his brothers and sister in places like Oregon, California or Illinois. Despite his sometimes gruff exterior, to us he was always just Jimmy and he could be very silly and funny.  Many dogs and cats were blessed to have found a home with Jim and they lived very happy lives. Jim loved calling on the phone regularly just to chat and to go into detail about what he was making for supper and he would also like to share his recipes. He was the kind of brother who always kept our family close even though we lived far apart, and we are so much richer for having him as our brother.

Jim is survived by his  three siblings Peggy (and Al) Barrera of Bolingbrook, IL, Dan Cully of Oklahoma City, OK, and Ken Cully of Hebo, OR, brother-in-law Jim DeLair, nephews Don (and Shannon) DeLair, Bryan, Alex and Patrick Barrera, special friend, Cornella Blokzyl of Willmar,  her children Amy and Tony Blokzyl of Willmar, one son, Jeffrey Bulthuis of Bremerton, WA.; two grandsons, Dylan Bulthuis and Peyton Jansen, stepmother Joanne Cully, stepsisters Jody, Jan and Julie Duvall, as well as numerous cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Terrie DeLair.

Jim will forever be in the hearts of all of us who loved him so dearly. His wit and wisdom enriched us beyond words.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James "Jim" Cully, please visit our flower store.


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