James Rufer, 67, of Strandburg, SD, died on July 21, 2015, at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Milbank with Father Kevin Odell celebrating the Mass. Full military honors will be conducted following the Mass. Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the time of service at the church on Saturday. Honorary bearers include James’ nephews and many friends as well as his co-workers from Milwaukee Railroad and Burlington Northern Railroad.
James Lowell Rufer was born on April 1, 1948, in Milbank, SD, to Leonard and Mary (Beckman) Rufer. He grew up in the LaBolt/Strandburg area. James was a great athlete during his school years and later received his GED. James served in the United States Army from 1968 through 1970. After his honorable discharge, James returned to South Dakota.
On July 13, 1973, James was united in marriage with Karen Nordquist in Watertown, SD. They were blessed with two children and countless foster children. He started working for Milwaukee Railroad, which later became Burlington Northern Pacific, and retired 30 years later. James was a sports fan and an avid outdoorsman who loved to fish and hunt. He especially enjoyed animals of all kind. James had a great sense of humor, a quick wit, and was “one of a kind”! He loved people and especially adored spending time with his family and caring for his foster children. James will be greatly missed.
Left with his loving memory is his wife, Karen, of Strandburg; mother Mary Rufer of Strandburg; children: Jeremy Rufer of Milbank, SD; Jessica (Scott) Rawson of Sioux Falls, SD; Jadus Medicine Crow of Strandburg; Jatana Grajczyk of Strandburg; and Mitayh Medicine Crow of Strandburg; and several other foster children; grandchildren: Rylie and Kaitlin; siblings: Peggy (LeRoy) Lund of Madison, MN; Dolly (Ronnie) Buth of Strandburg; Lenore Rufer of Hastings, MN; Barbara (Norman) Jacobson of Hastings, MN; Cheryl Rufer of Minneapolis, MN; Carol (Curt) Jutting of Strandburg; and Julie (Al) Meyer of Springville, IA.
James was preceded in death by his father Leonard; and two brothers: Mike and David Lee.