James (Jim) Gronowski, 75, died Monday February 6th, 2023 at William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison WI. He was born in Milwaukee on December 5th, 1947, the son of the late Edward and Miriam (Witzlsteiner) Gronowski. Jim graduated from Wauwatosa West High School and played football on the 1965 Suburban Conference Championship team.
Jim enlisted in the Air Force in 1966, serving as an inflight armament technician on AC-47s gunships. He was a member of the 3rd Special Operations Squadron and was deployed all over the world including Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. He had a decorated military career, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross, a Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts. Jim was proud of his service and stayed active with various veteran’s organizations including later serving as the commander of the Wind Lake VFW.
Jim returned home in 1971 and enrolled at UW-Milwaukee where he studied botany and geography. He studied under Professor Donn Haglund who had a northern studies program with the Canadian government. Jim made eight trips to the high arctic including Alaska, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Greenland spending weeks at a time living alongside the Inuit people which was very healing for him. His experiences and work led to him receiving a master’s degree in Geography in 1981. During college he met Ellen Johnston whom he had two children with, Eli and Kelsey.
Jim worked for over 27 years in facility management at Blunt Ellis & Loewi and their subsequent companies.
He loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting. Jim was particularly fond of the time spent hunting with family in Adams County & Rush Lake and his hunting trips to North Dakota. He built a house on Lake Sinissippi in Iron Ridge and served on the Sinissippi Lake District for 14 years.
Jim had a passion for conservation and was involved with Ducks Unlimited for over 40 years. He held various leadership roles including area chairman, lead zone chairman and Wisconsin State Chairman from 2012-2013. Jim was a charismatic leader and would emcee DU dinners and events all over the state. His efforts led to funding projects to protect and restore areas of the Horicon Marsh, Rush Lake and many other wetlands in the state of Wisconsin.
Surviving are his children, Eli (Stephanie) Gronowski of Eldridge, Iowa and Kelsey (Michael) Chandler of Stoughton; one grandchild, Bryce Gronowski; sisters Margaret Petlock and Susan VanCamp; brother William Gronowski. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister Martha Hergert.
The family would like to recognize all the support Jim has received over the past few years. Recognition to Jim’s wonderful care team at Marquardt / Commonheart Hospice and the staff at William S. Middleton for providing excellent care.
A Memorial Gathering for Jim will be held on Monday, February 13, 2023 from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Koepsell Funeral Home in Mayville, Wisconsin with a celebration of life service to follow at a later date.
In lieu of sending flowers donations can be made to Ducks Unlimited.
Koepsell Funeral Home in Mayville is caring for the family. www.Koepsellfh.com