James R. “Jim” Cleary

BRIGGSVILLE - James R. “Jim” Cleary, 78, of Briggsville, passed away at home on Tuesday, January 3, 2017, after a courageous battle with cancer. 

Born on June 1, 1938, Jim was one of five children born to Roy and Elizabeth (Taylor) Cleary. Jim graduated from Portage High School in 1956 and was a member of the Portage High School Volleyball State Championship team and was recently inducted to the Portage High School Hall of Fame. Jim still holds numerous athletic records at Portage High School. After high school, he was recruited by and pitched in the farm system for the Milwaukee Braves. His baseball career was cut short by a shoulder and arm injury. He drove semi-truck and hobby farmed. He was united in marriage to Mariam “Mag” Moore on June 27, 1959, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Briggsville. They were blessed with four children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren during their fifty seven years of marriage. Jim was well known in the small town of Briggsville for his infectious smile, his love of story-telling, love of baseball, and most importantly, his pride and love that he had for his family. 

Jim is survived by the love of his life, Mariam “Mag” Cleary of Briggsville; children, Brenda Hinze of Briggsville, Denise (Jim) McFaul, of Wisconsin Dells, Troy Cleary (Chris Kammes) of Briggsville and Paula (Robert) Buss of Briggsville. He was so very proud of his family - especially his grandkids, Stacy Hinze (Jeff Bilberry), Ryan (Travis) Bohen, Jared Hinze, Trevor McFaul (Callie Northcott), Jalen, Colyn, and Braden Buss and great-grandchildren: Taylor, Addisyn, and Brenton Bilberry and Brody and Griffin Bohen. Jim was looking forward to meeting a new great-granddaughter, to be born this spring. He is further survived by a brother-in-law, Maurice Zick of Briggsville. He will be missed by his many other relatives and close friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Elizabeth Cleary; sisters, Helen "Marie" Geiger (William Geiger), Margaret Cleary, and Mary Zick as well as his brother, Joseph Cleary (Carole Cleary), and a nephew, David Cleary and niece, Debra Dreyer. 

A special thank you to Cory Cardinal and Susan Eggleston Dushek and also Joe and Janet Millard for their friendship and continued support over the years. 

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at noon, on Saturday, January 7, 2017, at St. Mary’s Help of Christians Catholic Church, N565 County Road A, Briggsville with Fr. Gary Krahenbuhl presiding. Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Briggsville. Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until noon, on Saturday, at the church. The Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home ( in Portage is assisting the family.

Memorials to the family would be greatly appreciated.  

The family would like to thank Fr. Gary, Sr. Jovita and the staff at Home Health United Hospice for their care and support.

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For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)