Serving Western Wisconsin
Tony James 04/12/2020

Tony James 04/12/2020

Tony James was born in Waseca, MN in 1963 to Margie and Tom James. The family then moved to Belle Plaine, MN where Tony would grow up. Tony loved sports from an early age, in high school he was a three-sport athlete lettering in Football, Basketball, and Baseball. Earning all-conference awards in Football and Baseball.
After high school, Tony attended Minnesota State Mankato, or the “Harvard of the Midwest” if you asked him. He graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Tony would soon bid farewell to Minnesota and move west to Colorado where he worked in sales and explored every aspect the state had to offer. He enjoyed skiing, hiking, adventuring and meeting new people over the years he lived there.
Out of college he worked in sales for the City Pages and spent years working in insurance and real estate. However, his passion for the outdoors led him to starting his own business, James Landscaping. Being his own boss, working outside, and the ability to be creative were all things he cherished. This also allowed him to reserve time in the fall to be in the woods hiking, fishing, and hunting.
After moving back and meeting his first wife Lora, the two soon after settled down in Minnesota to start their family. They had their first son Dylan and a few years later their second child Abby. They moved to Wisconsin where he lived out the rest of his life in the home he built.
His kids were his life and he worked hard to show them how fun life can be. Tony was devoted to his family and always supported them during their life. He was their biggest fan in sports, education and anything they chose to pursue. When his kids were young, he helped coach their sports and took part in helping in any way he could. He knew when to be a parent and when to a be friend, and he was exceptional at both.
Tony was a true outdoorsman and took advantage of everything the Midwest had to offer. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, hiking, and kayaking. He loved being outside. If he could, he would be out in the woods hiking or cutting wood all the time. He knew so much about the forest, knowledge only obtainable from spending years in it. It didn’t matter rain, snow, or storm. Nothing was keeping him away. He was very comfortable being uncomfortable.
Outside of the woods Tony was very active. Tony was a pool shark like no other. He never turned down a game and never let anyone win easily. He didn’t want to play 1 or 2 games, he wanted to play 10 or 12. When it came to sports, he was a true renaissance man. When he was younger, he always came back to Belle Plaine to play town team baseball. When he was older his passion transitioned to slow pitch softball. He never stopped playing sports, and he never stopped being active.
He met his wife Lisa in 2017 and survived by her love, support and devotion to him. She was a wife, friend, caregiver, and partner in crime. She never gave up on him even when the times were tough.
Tony was a husband, a father, a son, a friend, a coach, and so much more. He was always there for people who needed help and would give the shirt off his back for those he cared about. Those who got close with him knew how big he could open his heart. From his jokes, his confidence, his smile, his laugh, his hugs, his advice, and his spirit. He will be truly missed.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at a later date.  Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.


  • Allan Peterson Posted April 15, 2020 7:33 pm

    So, so sorry to hear this. We spent a lot of time together coaching youth baseball. He was very knowledgeable, and I always had a great deal of respect for him. This really saddens me. You have my sincerest condolences.

  • Conni Barger Posted April 16, 2020 7:20 pm

    Lisa James And family. Words cannot even begin to express my deepest sympathies on your loss. Please let me know if their is anything I can do. Tony is with you… Always

  • Dan Schmit Posted April 22, 2020 1:40 pm

    Very sad to read of Tony’s passing. He was a joyful man, one I truly liked. My condolences for your loss James family and friends. You’ll be missed TJ

  • David Huber Le Sueur MN Posted April 22, 2020 11:09 pm

    Grew up across the street from Tony in Belle Plaine in the mid 60’s and 70’s. He, along with the O’Brien boys (Pat and Gene) and I, were together almost every day. We were playing basketball, baseball or football constantly, usually in O’Briens huge lot, much to the chagrin of Mrs. O’Brien. I remember Tony had to use a smaller basketball because he couldn’t get a regulation size ball up to the hoop. Boy, did that ever change in the years to come, as he became a superior athlete for Belle Plaine High School. He was a teammate that any team would covet. This news is terribly sad for me. I still see his face and smile and here his voice as though it was yesterday, and it’s been 40 years. So shocking, and very eye opening. We all go our separate ways, that’s what life is about, but it confirms to me, to stay in touch with those people that mean something to you, because we never know. I hope I don’t miss a celebration of Tony’s life, if that is what the future holds. RIP Tony.

  • Joan Hafslund Posted April 23, 2020 1:14 am

    I just learned in the newspaper today
    that Tony had passed away,
    I was one of Tony’s teachers in his elementary school years
    and I remember well that young boy who was so involved and so sincere.

    He was brilliant in all of his subjects, but bright and intuitive about people, too,
    because he had a genuine love of people and a friendly and cheery point of view.
    That quick and easy smile that he always wore on his face
    is what I will always see
    when I remember that gifted and happy boy called Tony.

    He captured our hearts and encouraged us to join in and to try…
    To give every adventure a chance and to not just watch it go by..
    To do our best on not just the big things but also the small,
    To experience the satisfaction of giving your all…
    To watch out for others and help them as they make their way….
    and to always be able to look back and be able to say, “Gee, today was a great day!”

    In loving memory of a marvelous and magnificent soul,

    Joan Hafslund

  • Dick Peterson Posted April 23, 2020 3:07 pm

    Sorry to read and hear about Tony’s passing at such a young age. He certainly led an active and fruitful life. May all go well for the family.

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