William F. James


PORTAGE – William F. James, age 84, passed away on Sunday, November 5, 2017, at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg surrounded by his family.

Bill was born on December 17, 1932 in Portage, the son of Frederick and Bernice (Behnke) James.  He graduated from Portage High School, and served his country as a Sergeant in the United States Army in the Korean War.  In September 2015 he participated in a Badger Honor Flight with his son, Steve, as his escort. He married Bernadine Ryan at St. Mary of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Pardeeville on September 7, 1957.  Bill was a Conductor with the Milwaukee Road and Soo Line Railroad for 43 years.  As an avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed duck and goose hunting, and was a member of the Portage Rod & Gun Club as well as being a sponsor and volunteer for Ducks Unlimited.  He enjoyed spending time at the family cottage in Pardeeville and riding his ATV on his land.  He was an accomplished curler and a member of the Portage Curling Club.  Bill was an avid golfer and was a member of the Portage Country Club.  He was a member of the Dr. CW Henney Knights of Columbus Council #1637 in Portage and a lifelong member of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.  Bill and Bernadine were also accomplished ballroom dancers enjoying many special times on the dance floor.        

He is survived by his wife, Bernadine James, of Portage his children, Susan (Greg) Breen, of Madison, and Steven (Natalie) James, of Portage; his grandchildren, Jennifer (Barry) McClain, of Brookfield, and Jeffrey Breen of Madison; his great-grandchildren, Dean and Paige McClain; his siblings, Mary Schwanz, of Portage, Donald James, of DeForest and Ann Jankowski, of Waukesha.  He is further survived by his brothers-and-sisters-in-law, many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends, as well as his Black Labrador hunting partner and companion, Casey.  He was preceded in death by his parents.  

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, November 10, 2017, at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Portage, with Fr. Gary Krahenbuhl presiding. Burial will follow in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery with military honors provided by Portage Area Veterans Honor Guard. Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage and on Friday, from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Columbia County Humane Society, or Badger Honor Flight.

Thank you to the staffs of Divine Savior Healthcare and Clinic, Portage Clinic, Tivoli and Agrace Hospice. 

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.





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