James “Jim” R. Schultz, age 74 of the Township of Larrabee, passed away on Friday evening May 26, 2023 at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton surrounded by his loving family.
Above all, Jim was a family man who built a life he loved with his wife Ruth Ann by his side. He was an incredible father who was also a friend and confidant to his three daughters and his sons-in-law. Jim adored his seven grandchildren and was always taking them on adventures, showing them the wonders of the natural world (rock and fossil hunting, tree climbing, bird banding) as well as finding the fun in everyday life (trips to the bowling alley, local restaurants, running errands together, and reading books while snuggling on the couch). In his retirement, Jim joked that he was more busy than ever, but he always made time for others, and spent many hours enjoying lunch and conversations with his wide circle of friends.
Jim never let his Parkinson’s or his myelofibrosis diagnosis slow him down, and even said that “You can only control your response to the burdens you have been given. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself, view each thing as a gift and it will become one. I am thankful for Parkinson’s disease and my bone marrow cancer. It has helped me discover a part of myself that would have still been hidden without the experience.”
The eldest of ten children, Jim was born on December 1, 1948 to Joanne (McQuade) Schultz and Ronald Schultz in Janesville, Wisconsin. He grew up working on the family dairy farm, where he got into many adventures with his siblings and cousins. Jim married the love of his life, Ruth Ann (Lines) Schultz, on May 31, 1969. He graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1970, and he and Ruth Ann moved to Missoula, Montana, where he worked on a graduate research program in biology. The couple moved to Wisconsin two years later to be closer to family and to fulfill their dream of homesteading a farm. That dream became a reality when they bought Weed Eden farm in 1977.
A lifelong teacher, Jim shared his love of nature, science and his intellectual curiosity with the world, as any one who has been on one of his famous prairie tours can attest to. Jim was a math, science, and agriculture teacher at Marion High school for 23 years and was chair of the Science Department and a biology teacher at Clintonville High School from 2002 to 2011. In his retirement, Jim served on the Clintonville Board of Education (2014-2021), was a choir member and Christian Education Chair at Christ Congregational United Church of Christ, a member of the local Wisconsin Wild Ones conservation organization, and an active member and speaker for the Prairie Enthusiasts, where he shared his knowledge and lessons learned from cultivating his own 35 acre native prairie at Weed Eden Farm. Jim was also a passionate and talented photographer, capturing the beauty of nature and sharing it through his yearly calendar which hangs in many Clintonville businesses today.
Jim dedicated himself fully to all of his endeavors, as a father, husband, farmer, teacher, community member and friend. He developed a method for pasture-farming sheep that won him the accolade of Master Shepherd from the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders cooperative. He was chosen by the international organization ACDI-VOCA to travel to farming regions in Armenia and Azerbaijan and provide guidance and assistance to farmers living there. He took his Biology students to the Bahamas, Costa Rica and Belize to study rainforest and coral ecosystems firsthand.
Jim always had a clever pun or dad joke handy. He loved to make Ruth Ann laugh (or cringe) and his wit, humor and one-of-a-kind grin made his family, friends and many students over the years laugh along with him. A kind, thoughtful and prudent listener, Jim was never one to jump to an opinion without looking first at all of the facts and seeking out other points of view. He took great pride in all of his students, but his favorite visits were those from former students who had failed one of his classes or with whom he had a history of disagreements; forming alliances and friendships was one of Jim’s greatest gifts.
He was the kind of man who was an expert listener, advice-giver, and idea generator, and the world has changed for the better because of him. He will be dearly missed by his family, friends and so many who were like family to him.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of nearly 54 years, Ruth Ann
Daughters: Johanna Schultz Morillo, Clintonville; Rebecca (Joseph) Dillenburg, Clintonville; & Sarah (Jamison) Schultz Hein, Clintonville
Mother: Joanne Schultz, Cottage Grove
Grandchildren: Sofia, Anika, Renato, Amalia, Roman, Eloise, & Celeste
Sisters: Nancy (Bruce) Darken, Madison; Cindy (Steve) Martinelli, Cottage Grove; Diane (John) Jaeggi, Brooklyn; & Donna (Jim) Robinson, DeForest
Brothers: Steve (Martha) Querin-Schultz, Gays Mills; David (Sabrina) Schultz, St. Marys, GA; Jeffrey (Kelley) Schultz, Rutland, VT; & Bob (Joan) Schultz, Verona
Jim was preceded in death by his father, Ronald Alvin Schultz; a sister, Suey Starczynski; & a son-in-law, Julio Parra.
A celebration of life will be held 10:30 AM, Friday June 30, 2023 at Jim’s own Weed Eden Prairie, with the Reverends Jill Meyer & Bob Thaden officiating,
E8068 Knitt Rd. Clintonville, WI 54929.
Visitation will take place from 4-7 PM, Thursday June 29, 2023 at Christ Congregational Church U.C.C., Clintonville; and again on Friday at Weed Eden Prairie from 9 AM until the time of service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Jim’s name are preferred to be directed to the family for a fund to be established at a later date.
The Eberhardt-Stevenson Funeral Home & Crematory, Clintonville is assisting the Schultz family with arrangements.
An online guestbook is available at eberhardtstevenson.com