Cover photo for Richard "Rick" James's Obituary
1941 Richard 2021

Richard "Rick" James

June 30, 1941 — November 15, 2021

Richard "Rick" James. age 80 of Willmar, passed away Monday Nov. 15, at his residence.

A public celebration of Rick's life will be held in the spring/summer of 2022 at the Willmar American Legion.   Arrangements are with Peterson Brothers Funeral Home.  www.petersonbrothers.com

Richard "Rick" William James was born on June 30, 1941, in Hartford, South Dakota, the son of Richard S. and Helen (Langpap) James.  The family moved to Hills, Minnesota where he grew up and received his education.  While in high school, Rick participated in football, track, debate and drama.  Following high school, Rick enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Forbes Air Base (SAC Command Section) in Topeka, Kansas.  It was there that Rick met the love of his life, Reta Jo.  They were later married and were blessed with a son, Troy, born at the base hospital.  Following his military service, Rick worked for the Shawne County Sheriff's Department as a patrolman in Topeka, Kansas.  In 1964, they moved to Luverne, Minnesota where Rick was employed by the Luverne Police Department as a patrolman.  Their daughter Traci was born in the Luverne hospital.  In 1967, the family moved to Willmar and Rick became employed as a patrolman with the Willmar Police Department, retiring in July of 1996.

Rick enjoyed fishing and golfing in the summer then in the winter he enjoyed ice fishing, snow shoeing and cross country skiing.  Every March he put together a fishing clinic with professional fisherman speakers that was attended and enjoyed by many.  Besides fishing the 4 state BASS circuit, Rick had a short radio show on KWLM of fishing tips and also had a half hour weekly radio show in Hutchinson about various outdoor topics.

Rick and Reta enjoyed traveling all over in their motorhome.  Following Reta's retirement, they spent the winters at their home in Donna, Texas and summers in Willmar.

Rick was a member of Vinje Lutheran Church and the Willmar American Legion Post #167.

He is survived by his loving wife, Reta; his children, Troy (and Veronica) James of California and Traci (and Mark) Gmitro of South Carolina; two grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Alexs and one sister, Lori Reuter of South Dakota, besides other relatives and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

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

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