Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
James Lowell McAfee, age 68, of Neshkoro, passed away at his home on Friday, December 15, 2023. He was born on October 31, 1955, along with his twin brother, John, a son of William H. and Christine (Taylor) McAfee.
James’s childhood embraced all the freedoms and responsibilities of a family farm. Acres of produce and crops to tend and acres of fields, woods, swamp, backwaters, and lake shore to explore and enjoy. James and John “the twins” were often called “Jamie John” because the family could not tell them apart from a distance and they were almost always together. They were the youngest of the 7 siblings and were born on their mothers 40th birthday, which was Halloween. All seven children were born within 8 years.
William and Christine, James’s parents, ran the family farm, which included milking cows, taking care of steers, hogs, and chickens. They raised and sold fresh produce and operated a landscaping and tree removal business. Chores were many and varied and often assigned by age and some assigned by weight. If you were heavy enough to operate the pedals on the tractor but too small to load the hay bales you received a quick tutorial and with the throttle set on low, were a driver in the field. William also worked full time at Speed Queen and when the twins were in 7th grade Christine returned to nursing fulltime.
Produce was planted, tended and except for potatoes, picked by hand. The statement many hands make light work was not always true, but many hands were none the less at work. So many memories of steaming black marsh fields where beans, tomatoes and celery were planted by hand, knee deep in the warm black soil. Breaks were taken in the cold creek that ran into the back waters of the lake.
They were a tribe of 7 children, a family of 9, a full pew at church, angels, shepherds and sheep, farm hands, scholars at the Dantz’s Tavern one room school house. They were wild creatures in the woods, swam like fish and enjoyed all the farm had to offer. They were blessed with amazing parents, a church family, as well as many caring neighbors including the Guderskis, Kahls, Hess’s, Affeldts, Kuglins and the Wadells, to name a few. They firmly believe that the circle remains unbroken and for that they are grateful.
James was a 1973 graduate of Markesan High School. After working for several years, he continued his education at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He transferred to the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees of Science in Metallurgical Engineering. James worked first for McDonald Douglas Aircraft in St. Louis, MO, and then went to Boeing Corp. in Seattle, WA where he worked on various military and civilian aircraft development projects. Some of James’ work included forensic investigations to determine modes of failure in metallic structures, eventually developing and managing a failure analysis laboratory with 25 plus engineers, scientists and technicians. He traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe, working with military, government and aircraft supply side vendors in many aspects of aircraft design and development processes.
James had many diverse interests, he enjoyed hiking mountain trails, camping, hunting in Montana, Western Washington and Wisconsin. He also enjoyed fishing mountain rivers, Puget Sound in Washington, fishing and scuba diving off Baja, CA, the Gulf of Mexico and numerous inland lakes and rivers. James was a pilot and loved building and flying airplanes. He was also a long-time member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, visiting Wisconsin every year to attend the EAA Convention in Oshkosh. Always keeping busy, he worked on any type of construction and demolition project. James loved spending time with his family and friends. He thoroughly enjoyed playing with and pestering his nieces and nephews.
Those left behind to cherish his memory include his siblings, William T. (Diane) McAfee, Mary M. (Charles) Ericksen, Robert B. (Laura) McAfee, Patricia A. (Lenny Anschutz) McAfee, Alice L. Schoebel, John D. (Shawn) McAfee; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, William H. and Christine T. McAfee; brother-in-law, Mark S. Schoebel; nephew, Benjamin J. Schoebel.
A private memorial service for James Lowell McAfee will be held on Friday, December 29, at 2:00 p.m., with Rev. Gary Zacharias officiating. Please visit our website www.wachholzandsons.com to send a condolence or share a memory of James with his family.
Wachholz and Sons Funeral Home
Sunset Cremation Center in Princeton
Serving the Family, 920-295-6631