James B. “Jim” Stoltman

James B. “Jim” Stoltman
James B. Stoltman, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. © UW-Madison University Communications 608-262-0067 Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart Date: 11/05 File#: D100 digital camera frame 17422

Our dad James B. “Jim” Stoltman, age 84, passed on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, in Madison surrounded by family and close friends. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on February 6, 1935, to Bernard and Sophia (Kalitowski) Stoltman.

He is survived by his loving wife, Sallie Stoltman; daughter Wendy (Mike Platt) and two sons Jeff (Sara) and Andy. Jim was also the proud grandfather to Patrick, Alison, Christian and Eileen and great-grandfather to Oliver.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Our dad was genuinely humble and invariably found a self-deprecating way to change the subject when it was focused on him. In an unheralded fashion, he preferred to first address the needs of others. So, a traditional obituary recounting his life and extolling his virtues will certainly cause him great displeasure in the afterlife. Wishing to avoid that, let’s just say that Dad was a devoted archaeologist who felt privileged to serve as a teacher, researcher, and counselor to those who entered UW-Madison’s Department of Anthropology. His contributions to the field of archaeology were many even though he never used a bullwhip or wore a fedora.

When he wasn’t digging in the dirt with his students or analyzing ancient pottery under a microscope, he loved to play tennis, drink a good martini, travel with Sallie, fish, sip fine cognac, play poker, adore his grandchildren, savor vintage port, smoke cigars, write about archaeology, drink a margarita, listen to favorite songs (most notably Ripple), and throw overripe bananas while vigorously gesturing during meetings. We found out late in his life that he preferred white wine over red. Who knew?

In the afterlife, we encourage Dad to continue honing his cooking skills. By that we mean learn to cook pasta in a way that doesn’t create a glutinous mass that destroys the pot. On the other hand, we affirmatively recognize that Dad’s ability to save items in the refrigerator endures as a poignant reminder of the lifesaving value of clearly legible expiration dates.

Dad, your many friends, colleagues, tennis buddies, poker pals, students, children and grandchildren recognize your kindness, selflessness, humor, humility, approachable intellect, and devotion to others – especially to Sallie. You didn’t “do a back flip and die” with all of us watching, but we sure appreciate your humor right until the end. Those around you are better because you were here and appreciate you deeply. All those individuals you treated like family miss you greatly and are following your example. Indeed, you remain a “ripple in still water”.

A memorial service will be held at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 6021 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53705, on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. A visitation will be held at the funeral home on Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Agrace Hospice.

Cress Funeral & Cremation Services
6021 University Avenue
(608) 238-8406