James Mathew Heitkamp, 90, of Barney, ND, passed away Wednesday, August 19, 2015, at CHI St. Francis Nursing Home in Breckenridge, MN. The visitation will be from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, with a prayer service at 7:00, on Sunday, August 23, at Joseph Vertin & Sons Funeral Home in Breckenridge. The visitation will continue from 9:30 to 10:30 AM, on Monday, August 24, at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mantador, ND, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 AM. Father Andrel will be the celebrant. The interment will be at St. Peter and Paul's Catholic Cemetery in Mantador.
James was born on July 2, 1925, on the family farm near Mooreton, ND, in Barney Township, to Frank and Lena (Becker) Heitkamp. He attended grade school in Barney Township while helping on family farm. Jim was drafted in the US Army on January 15, 1951, during the Korean War. He was released in October of 1952 to the National Guard and remained on active duty for four years. He achieved the rank of Corporal and a well-deserved 1st cook. In the course of his military career, he spent 13½ months stationed overseas, with three of those months in Thule, Greenland, and ten months in Panama. Jim was a charter member of the VFW in Mantador.
On January 10, 1955, Jim was united in marriage to Margaret "Peggy" Marie Brandt, at St. John's Catholic Church in Wyndmere, ND. They made their home and began raising their children on a farm near Mantador. Tragically, Peggy and three of their youngest children were killed in a car accident on October 18, 1967. The family then moved to the Becker farm and eventually moved their home into Wyndmere. Jim continued to farm.
Jim used his sense of humor and no-nonsense approach to life to instill integrity and character in his children. He was approachable and friendly, and loved to shoot the breeze with friends and strangers. He lived by a code of ethics inspired by his faith and generosity. When he wasn't working, Jim loved to spend time at the lake with his family and proudly attended his grandchildren's events. He enjoyed living on the farm until 2008, at which time he moved into an apartment in Wahpeton. His vocation as a farmer was great, but his children and grandchildren were his crowning glory.
Jim is survived by his five children, Jackie (Larry) Medenwald of Wahpeton, and their children Chastity and Kyle (Stacie); Francis (Geralyn) Heitkamp of Kindred, ND and their children, Race and Tessa; Jesse Heitkamp of Fargo, ND; Stacie (Dan) Onchuck of Wahpeton, ND, and their children Addie and Brody; and Jason Heitkamp of Barney and his children, Sierra and Kelly; and his sister, Dorothy Pederson of Wahpeton.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret; his children, Kelly, Janelle, Jennifer, and a baby; his parents, Frank and Lena; his siblings, Charles, Jerome, and Bernard Heitkamp, and Viola Tompt.