Maj. James "Jim" Keatley Given III

Verona/Tomah- Major James K. Given III (Jim) was born on April 23, 1953 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He passed away from cancer on October 2, 2013 at the Great Lakes Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin. Much happened between those two events.

Jim was the beloved son of James Jr. and Irene Given. Ultimately, after spending time living in Iowa and Milwaukee, the Given family settled in Verona, Wisconsin. Jim attended school in Verona and impressed his teachers with his intellect, his coaches with his prowess, and his friends with his spirit. His greatest honor was to be nominated and accepted as a cadet at West Point. He graduated from West Point in 1975. Jim was an Army pilot, an Army Ranger, a skydiver, and a good friend who was wonderfully mischievous; he played the trumpet, piano, and guitar. He enjoyed singing and joined the West Point Glee Club. Jim was completing the requirements for earning his master's degree in aeronautical engineering. He filled his life with hard work, laughter, and dreams. However, in 1986, his dreams were cut short.

His goal from the Army (and his personal goal) was to represent the Army by traveling into space as part of NASA's shuttle program. As his nephew stated at the time, "Jim is the Flash Gordon of uncles." And, indeed he was. Tragically, in 1986, all that ended due to a plane crash that severely injured Jim's brain. Since then, he has resided at the veteran's facility in Tomah. The VA staff cared for him as though he was a member of their family. His family was by his side through the decades. Dear friends shared hours with him daily. He was loved and shared his love with us.

Jim was preceded to the full measure of God's Light by his parents James and Irene. He is survived by his sisters Sandy Tordoff (Roger) and Kim Bushey (Tom), as well as his nieces and nephews, Brad Tordoff, Stacy (Tordoff) Baker (Eric), Amber Bushey, and Colton Bushey. Add to that list, his grand-nephews, James and Evan Baker. Members of his extended "family" who visited him so he had company daily are Annette Stevens (and her husband Lenny, until his death), Deb Nicolaus, Rene Clark, and Jamie Murphy. Jim's gratitude to them will span eternity.

Since Jim's passing, one of his West Point friends commented that Jim was a treasure in life. He was. It was a God-given blessing he touched our lives. It is his blessing that he is now soaring in God's Light.

Jim's visitation and funeral will be held at ST. JAMES EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, 427 S. Main St., in Verona, Wisconsin on Saturday, October 12. The visitation will begin at 9:30 AM and the funeral service will begin at 11AM with Rev. Kurt Billings officiating. Internment will be at the Oak Hall Cemetery. The family will be establishing a music scholarship in Jim's honor at the Verona High School. All memorials, unless otherwise specified, will be included as part of that scholarship.

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