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James Waldemar Thelander
July 24, 1933 ~ October 5, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old
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James W. Thelander was born on July 24, 1933. He passed away on October 5, 2023. He lived a full life; enjoying it for 90 years. Jim was born in Little Falls, Minnesota. He later moved to Berwyn, Illinois and graduated from Morton High School. That is where he met Joan Raysky. Jim joined the Army, served at the end of the Korean War in Okinawa. After time served Jim and Joan were married in January of 1956. They were married 61 years before Joan passed in 2017.
Jim graduated college from Purdue University with a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. He was very proud that he worked on “The Surveyor” (a lunar aircraft that went to the moon). It is on display in Washington DC at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
In 1982 he received his Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arizona. Jim and Kimberly (Bachelor's Degree) took part in the University of Arizona graduation ceremony together. A very special and unique day for both.
Jim, Joan, and Kimberly moved to Benson in 1964. Jim worked at AEPCO and then Fort Huachuca. He was a volunteer fireman in Benson for 30 years. He was also on the Benson Hospital Board that campaigned and broke ground for the current Benson Hospital. Jim also served on the Benson Planning and Zoning Committee for 10 plus years. In 2021 he was inducted into the Benson Bobcat Alumni Association as an honorary member. He was also a part of the Benson Barbershoppers and sang in the Benson Community Presbyterian Church choir. Jim and Joan loved this community and were proud to call it their home.
Jim and Joan loved to travel. After retirement, they traveled the US in their travel trailer. Traveling all over visiting family, friends, national parks, and quilt shops.
They have been in all 50 states, and many foreign countries.
Jim is survived by his daughter Kimberly East (Ellis), Granddaughter Ellen Robertson (Chad), Grandson Earl East (Justine McCune), and his brother Stanley Peter Thelander (Fran).
He is preceded in death by his wife Joan Raysky Thelander (2017), his brother John (Jack) Thelander, sister Elizabeth (Betty) Bettaso, brother William (Bill) Thelander, father Hilding Thelander, and mother Thelma (Nordholm) Thelander.
He had 3 Great Grandchildren: Parker James Robertson, Reed Wallace Robertson, and Welden Acel East.
A Memorial Service will be held at 4:00 pm on Friday, October 20, 2023 at the Benson Community Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Benson Community Presbyterian Church.