James J. Calmes

May 11, 1941 ~ April 18, 2018 (age 76)

James J. Calmes, age 76, of Kaukauna, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on April 18, 2018. He was born on May 11, 1941, on Mother’s Day, son of the late Donald E. and Stella M. (Kempen) Calmes. James attended St. Nicholas Grade School, St. Norbert’s High School and graduated from Freedom High School. He was united with the love of his life, Joanne M. Van de Hei, on September 16, 1961, at St. Bonifice Catholic Church.

With a lot of hard work, dedication and a true passion for what he loved, James was able to start and successfully run James J. Calmes Construction Co., Inc. for many years. As the company grew, employees were hired and Joanne moved into the office and was the secretary for the company. James continued his education and attended Fox Valley Technical College and the University of Green Bay and attained his degrees in concrete, masonry, carpentry, plumbing and also received his pilot license. The company expanded to 30 employees that also went to apprenticeship schools and received on the job training for quality work and safety. The company also started several others including Mid Valley Utilities, Land Development, Calmes Custom Cabinets, Snow Removal and Pre Engineered Buildings. James and Joanne also purchased property and built over 139 new homes and sold them on their own, then went into commercial building. James would like to thank all of the employees that worked for his company. And a special thanks to some of the best leaders a company could have that include Roy Brown, Ray Diedrich Jr., Dan Bowers, Randy Calmes, Kevin Calmes and Todd Calmes. James and Joanne retired in 2001 when the company was sold to their sons, Randy J. Calmes and Todd M. Calmes.

James is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Joanne; his children: Deb Calmes, Randy (Jody) Calmes, Kevin (Tracy) Calmes, Todd (Chrissy) Calmes and Jodi (Ron) Pyke; grandchildren: Brandon (Erin) Conrad and their children: Blake and Kelcie, Amanda Conrad and her daughter, Jaelyn, Britny (Andrew) Babler, Clarissa (special friend, Tyler) Calmes, Brady (Alexis) Calmes, Kearsten Calmes, Austin Geenen (special friend Alissa), Madison Geenen, Paige (special friend, Josey) Calmes, Olivia Calmes, McKenzie Calmes, Amber (Chris) Nackers and their children: Nevaeh, Isaiah and Coraeh, Cody (special friend, Mariah) Calmes, Aubree Calmes, Courtney Calmes, Kristin Calmes and Derek Calmes; siblings: Carol Leygraaf, Jean (Bob Van Damm) Van Schyndel, John (Sue) Calmes, Hank (Vicky) Calmes, Jerry (Candice) Calmes, Roseanne (Ron) Holewinski, Don Jr. (Amy) Calmes, Mary (Jon) Williams, Bob (Bonnie) Calmes, David (Kim) Calmes and Patti Jansen; brothers and sisters-in-law: Eleanor (Tom) DeGroot, Helen (Ron) Hietpas, Melvin (Blanca) Van de Hei, Stephen (Linda) Van de Hei, Mary Haupt (special friend Rick) and Elaine (Fred) DeGroot; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

James was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Stella; a brother, LeRoy Calmes; father and mother-in-law, George Van de Hei and Doreen (Van de Hei) Sendzik; brothers and sisters-in-law: Tom Leygraaf, David Van Schyndel, Bonnie Van de Hei and Lois Van de Hei; nieces: Linda Calmes and Sherrie Leygraaf and Terri DeGroot. 

Visitation will be held from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 309 Desnoyer Street, Kaukauna. Visitation will continue on Wednesday morning at the church from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass at 11:00 a.m. Msgr. John Schuh will officiate. Entombment will be in Highland Memorial Park. For online condolences, please visit

The Calmes family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Heartland Hospice for your professional care. Dr. Eugene Rigstad and his wife Tracy and our friends from Furniture Solutions and Trina's Barber and Design.

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