Deceased: December 29, 2004
Jim Thun, a Minnesota native and graduate of Northfield high school, left Carleton after his freshman year, and never returned to college. Instead, he went to work at the Northfield News, then at the Thorpe Loan Co., and later transferred to St. Peter, MN.
He married a woman he met there, and the couple had the first of three children. They went on to Albert Lea, MN and then Oelwine, IA, where Jim worked as an administrator in the community hospital.
After his marriage dissolved in 1972, Jim relocated to Minneapolis, finding a job in the credit department of Hirschfields, the Midwest’s largest paint and wall covering retailer. He ended up spending 32 successful years at Hirschfields, working his way up to vice president for sales. “He loved his work, and he was good at it,” said his sister, JoAnne Perkins.
An excellent golfer and a quick wit, Jim Thun was a natural at entertaining clients and pursuing business. Although he never remarried, he was an avid fisherman, traveling with his family to many and varied lakes in northern Minnesota and others parts of the country. He also developed a penchant for old-fashioned road trips, taking his parents, brothers and sisters and children on automobile outings all over the country.
“He took me on an adventure to Disney World when I was 25, because we never got to go when I was younger,” said his daughter, Ann Bye. “He took a lot of us on a fishing trip to the Ozarks. He even took his aging parents across the country in a car. He was a warm, loving person, kind of a big kid.”
At age 59, Jim was diagnosed with a malignant, inoperable colon cancer. At first, he continued to work at Hirshfields, but when aggressive chemotherapy took its toll, he took an early retirement. He battled the affliction for three years before dying on Dec. 29, 2004, at age 62.
Even in his final months, Jim continued to travel, visiting Las Vegas several times with family, refusing to succumb. “He was the comedian of the family,” said another sister, Jane Biehn. “He loved to make people laugh. He was a compassionate person, a good listener, and if anyone needed help, he’d do anything he could for them. “I’m tearing up just talking about him. We miss him very much.”