A. James Seidl

A. James Seidl

Jan 1, 1932-ish – May 27, 2024

Jim Seidl died at his beloved cottage in Tomahawk. In his own words: “Jim was born somewhere in north/central Wisconsin sometime in late 1931/early 1932. His known history starts when he was found on a doorstep in Marshfield, Wis., near the railroad tracks in March 1932. He was formally adopted by Reuben and Caroline Seidl of Marshfield on July 11, 1933. He was nurtured and raised primarily by his adopted mother until he left home for the military in 1952.”

Since then we have found, through newspaper articles and DNA testing, that he was most likely from the Michigan Upper Peninsula, and he was 98% Finnish, not of German descent as we all believed. The articles proclaimed he was a foundling, not an abandoned child. He was a most wanted baby, with many people clamoring to adopt him from far and wide. Ultimately, he stayed where he spent the first year of his life and Reuben and Caroline adopted him.

He grew up, primarily raised by his Ma. Jim adds, “To the best of my remembrances, I found the following among my mother’s things as we were cleaning out her house after her death: ‘Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart but in it.’” 

Jim never learned to swim or ride a bike, but he was a voracious reader, could survive in the wilderness, and carved several totem poles, big and small! He spent childhood summers at his sister’s family’s farm, helping out in the barn and on the field. He graduated from Marshfield Senior High School in 1949. He served in Korea with the U.S. Army for two years, signing up as a scout to get more points toward a faster discharge date. Jim was selected to be a part of the Last Frontier Honor Flight in 2016, which he considered a highlight of his later years.

He returned to the States in 1954 and began courting his high school sweetheart, Barbara Weber, then of Denver, Colo. They were married in Marshfield Sept. 10, 1955. They relocated to Ft. Collins, Colo., where he used the GI Bill to study Game Management. After graduation from Colorado State University, he and his family moved to Marquette, Mich., where Jim began his 30-year government career in fishery biology and land management. He retired in 1985 from the Bureau of Land Management, Outer Continental Shelf Division, in Anchorage, AK.

Jim and Barb had four pesky kids in quick succession, and they moved about the country as Jim put in for and received promotions. After 12 years of marriage the family took a month to drive from Philadelphia, Penn., to Anchorage, AK, saying goodbye to family and friends along the way. They arrived in Anchorage on April 29, 1967, and Barb declared “This is home!” A two-year stint turned into 50 years and one week for the couple.

Jim flourished in Alaska. He loved hunting, fishing, and being in the outdoors. He taught his children and grandchildren how to chop wood, how to strike a match and light it with an ax, how to camp and set up a tarp (usually blue), and how to travel (carry what you bring). He had a gentle sense of humor and sported an infectious smile. Jim was a fabulous cook, famous for his paper steak, wretched messes, and pancakes. He loved cookies (take one for the road), family mealtimes, a good glass of wine or beer, and playing cards – sometimes all in one night!

Barb and Jim traveled the world for many, many years. They often took sojourns with Elderhostel (now Road Scholar) and explored many hidden treasures around the globe. One of Jim’s favorite memories were the two weeks he spent traveling by rail across Russia. He and Barb visited each continent save Antarctica, and he has a map of the world covered in pins from places he’s been.

Jim and Barb returned to Tomahawk in May 2017 so Barb could get the memory care she needed at the time. They settled at Milestone Assisted Living Facility, just five miles from the family’s Crystal View cottage on Crystal Lake. Jim and Barb were well cared for and loved by the staff at Milestone. Daughter Jean and son-in-law Jeff Walker went above and beyond assisting in their care and quality of life in Tomahawk. Barbara passed away in Nov. 2018 after 63 years of marriage.

Jim is survived by his four children: daughter Jean (Jeff) Walker of Tomahawk; son Patrick (Deborah) Seidl, daughter Ann (Tim) Rittal, and son Michael (Tracy) Seidl, all of Anchorage; 10 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his sainted wife, Barbara, his parents and sister.

His calling card offered “Poor advice freely given.” He had many favorite sayings: Mind your folks, do good in school, laugh every day, enjoy the world around you, read a lot, don’t sweat the small stuff, remember it’s all small stuff, take time to do nothing, and smile a lot! He was always happy to share his wisdom and enjoy conversation amongst family and friends over a good cup of coffee. One final thought from Jim: “There are no luggage racks in hearses!”

There was a funeral Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Tomahawk on Friday, May 31, 2024 at 10 a.m. Visitation at the church began at 9:30 a.m. Luncheon was served at the CCC immediately afterwards. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Tomahawk Community Meal (Tuesday Soup Kitchen), c/o St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Tomahawk. Krueger Nimsgern Funeral and Cremation Service cared for the family. You may view the obituary and share online condolences at www.nimsgernfuneral.com.

Scroll to Top