James “Jim” E. Westergaard, 88, of Reinbeck, passed away on Saturday, December 8th at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, following a brief illness. Visitation for James will be held on Friday, December 14th from 5 to 7 PM at the Union Congregational United Church of Christ in Reinbeck, with a Masonic service beginning at 6:45 PM. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 15th at 10:30 AM at the Union Congregational United Church of Christ. Burial will follow services at the Reinbeck Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the church, Reinbeck Masonic Coin Lodge or the Grundy County Iowa Fire Department Honor Guard.
Jim was born on December 28, 1929, in Reinbeck, Iowa, to his parents James & Elsie (Ramundt) Westergaard. He attended Reinbeck schools. At a young age, Jim learned the value of hard work. He began working for his half-brother at Culligan Water, and later became manager over 3 counties, retiring after 41 years of service. He also worked nights and weekends at the Mobile Station in Reinbeck. In his retirement years, Jim drove a semi for PCI, along with other odds and ends; he also worked for Phil Roberts, driving a grain truck during harvest.
Jim joined the Reinbeck Fire Department in 1955, serving as Fire Chief from 1958 until 1961. From 1968 to 1973, Jim was Mayor of Reinbeck, previously serving on City Council for 25 years; while Mayor, Jim made the first direct dial long distance call from Reinbeck to his daughter Janet, in Wisconsin in 1969. He and his brother John also started Wash All Laundromat in Reinbeck. In addition to all of his hard work to his community, he was a grave digger for the Reinbeck Cemetery for many years. He was a lifelong member of the Union Congregational United Church of Christ in Reinbeck, a 50 year member of the Reinbeck Masonic Coin Lodge, where he served a term as Worshipful Master, was a former Shriner and served on the Board of Directors for Parkview Manor in Reinbeck. His hard work did not go unnoticed. He was awarded the Outstanding Community Service Award by the Jaycees, in which he was also a member. Being a committed family man, Jim served as Rainbow Dad for his daughter Barb when she was the Worthy Advisor in Rainbow.
He enjoyed boating and spending weekends in Guttenberg with his wife and 2 daughters, fishing at Leech Lake in Minnesota, snowmobiling, hunting, and attending his children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events. It has been mentioned before, but hard working just isn’t enough to justify his contribution to his family and his community. He overcame many obstacles life put in his way, and was a great role model for his family members, as well as many others. Jim will be dearly missed by those he leaves behind.
Jim is survived by his wife of 70 years, Lillian of Reinbeck; daughters Barbara (Greg) Brandt of Reinbeck and Janet Patraw of Durand, WI; grandchildren Brian Harms, Jennifer (Matt) Cooper, Stephanie (Joel) Voelker, Cari (Keith) Cleppe and Kyle Patraw; great-grandchildren Ashley Harms, Brandt, Rylee & Austin Cleppe, Makenna Cooper and Emily & Carolyn Voelker. He was preceded in death by his mother Elsie Schroeder and father James Westergaard, Sr.; daughter Stacey Westergaard; brother John Westergaard; 3 half-brothers Walt, Roger & Raymond Thede; son-in-law David Patraw.