James J. Shilka

October 4, 1945 ~ August 15, 2018 (age 72)

James J. “Jim” Shilka passed away peacefully at home in his favorite recliner on August 15, 2018.  He was born in Stevens Point on October 4, 1945 to Evelyn and Peter Shilka.  He married Marie (Wanserski) on October 8, 1966.  He worked for IBM as a Field Engineer for 25 years and served six years in the  Reserves.  He spent much of his time outside as he was an avid hunter, camper, and fisherman.  He took great pride in planting and tending to his large garden for over 45 years.  With his engineering mind, he also loved to "tinker" in his shed – the ultimate man-cave.  If something needed to be fixed, he could always figure out a way to "Jimmy-rig it."  Cutting lawn, driving a tractor, and working at his son-in-law’s farm made him extremely happy, especially while smoking a cigar!  He was a quiet man with a sarcastic wit and enjoyed a good laugh as well as his time alone.  He loved his family beyond words.

He is survived by his loving wife of almost 52 years – Marie.  In Jim's words, "She was the best thing that ever happened to me."  (This wonderful lady took great care of him until his last breath.)  He is also survived by his three children: Sandra (Mark) Verhasselt, Eric Shilka (Oscar Espinoza), & Jenny Shilka-Schuh; seven grandchildren: Stephanie (Brian) Roffers; Ashley, Kyle, and Adam Verhasselt; and Mekaila, Alaina, and Isley Schuh (as well as their father – Roger); aunt: MaryAnn (Ray) Zimmerman; many cousins; brother/sisters-in-law’s: Don & Judy Wanserski, Joe & Judy Wanserski, Virginia & Paul Gottschalk, Henry & Cindy Wanserski, Jim & Linda Wanserski, Carol & Al Drechsler, David & Lorri Wanserski, and Ann & Steve Robison; and numerous nieces/nephews, including his special niece: Carla (Clarence) Soczka.  He is preceded in death by his parents: Evelyn & Peter Shilka; his mother and father in-law: Henry & Pauline Wanserski; and sister-in-law: Elaine Aschenbrener.

A Memorial Service for Jim will be held Friday, September 14, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. at Verkuilen – Van Deurzen Family Funeral Home, N3972 Columbia Ave., Freedom, with Fr. John Katamba officiating.  Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 2:00 p.m. until time of service.  In lieu of flowers, a memorial is being established.

This process was made so much easier with the support and help of all of the wonderful people from Heartland Hospice, Right-at-Home and Home Instead.  A very heartfelt thank you to Dr. Douglas Moard,  Katy RN, and caregivers, Sara, Karen, Jackie, and Milissa.  In a very short time, you became part of Jim's family.


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