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James Cherwinka, 75, of Cannon Falls

James Cherwinka, 75, of Cannon Falls passed away Saturday, June 6, 2009, at the Trinity Care Center in Farmington, Minn., following an brief illness, surrounded by his wife and children.

James George Cherwinka was born Aug. 28, 1933, in Green Bay, Wis., the son of Dorothy (Guile) and Charlton Cherwinka. His family moved to Antigo, Wis., where he attended school and graduated from Antigo High School. He went on to Lawrence College in Appleton, Wis., to become a draftsman. He was employed by Hayes-Lucas Lumber in Owatonna and Blooming Prairie, Minn. He also worked at Crane Lumber in Austin, Minn.

James married Muriel (Hansen) at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin on Oct. 20, 1956. They lived in the home Jim built until 1967, then moving to Cannon Falls. He worked for Hellickson Lumber in Wanamingo, Minn., until he opened Tree Stores Lumber Yard in Cannon Falls. He operated the TreeCom truss plant in Cannon Falls until 1980, when he sold the business. He continued to work as a salesman for Structural Component Supply Company, Littfin Lumber, Automated Building Components, and Wausau Supply retiring in 2007.

He was a member of the Minnesota National Guard for over 20 years, reaching the status of captain. He was also a Boy Scout leader while they lived in Austin.

James was a member of St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church where he served on the church council as chairman and taught Sunday school. He was a member of the Cannon Falls Volunteer Fire Department for 25 years. He served on the Cannon Falls School Board for 21 years, also serving as chairman. He was a member of the Rotary Club, served on the Planning and Zoning Commission, assisted in fundraising for Cannon Falls Education Foundation, and enjoyed playing Santa for the pre-school children in Cannon Falls. He was on the Building Commission for 7-Crafts. Most recently he served on the Cannon Falls City Council, and served as treasurer of the Care & Share Foundation and Economics Initiatives of Cannon Falls.

James enjoyed watching his grandchildren play sports, and going to morning coffee with the "Coffee Crew" in Cannon. His favorite pastimes were working in his garden, feeding and watching birds, and telling stories and jokes.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Muriel of Cannon Falls; daughter Kristine (Christopher) Sande of Cannon Falls; son Brian (Dawn) Cherwinka of Faribault; daughter Gretchen (Hugh "Skip") Thomson of Sandstone; and son Marcus (Lu Anne) Cherwinka of Golden Valley. He is also survived by his grandchildren Brittany (fiancé, Ryan Archambault), Ashlee, and Kelsey Cherwinka of Faribault; Alex Cherwinka, Rachel, Keith, Kayla, and Hunter Sande of Cannon Falls; Claire and Nathan Cherwinka of Golden Valley. Other survivors include his sister Sandra Herzog, nephews Judd and Sean Herzog; and great niece Riley Malak all of Wausau, Wisconsin.

He was preceded in death by son Steven; parents Dorothy and Charlton Cherwinka; mother and father-in-law Edward and Gena Hansen; and grandparents.

Jim touched many lives and made a difference in the Cannon Falls community.

Pallbearers are Eddie Smith, Dave Vangsness, Gary Eagen, Gerald Husaby, Ed "Bud" Engen, Durwood Iverson, Ernie Sparstad, Greg Anderson. Honorary Pallbearers are the Cannon Falls Volunteer Fire Department, grandchildren, Sean & Judd Herzog(nephews), Rick Smith & Kevin Smith(godsons), Dean Lukes, Sheldon Lukes, Bill Duncan.

Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Friday, June 12, at St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church, 7459 Highway 19, Cannon Falls. Visitation will be Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church and continue one hour prior to the service at church. Interment will be in the Grandview Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Austin, Minn. Memorials preferred to the Cannon Falls Education Foundation, St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church or Shepherd's Center of the Cannon Valley.

Arrangements by Lundberg Funeral Home of Cannon Falls. (507) 263-4246