PALMYRA — James Lee Frehner, 77, of Palmyra, Wis., passed away on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, at his home.
Jim was born on July 15, 1942, in Monroe, Wis., the son of John and Leora (Weissmiller) Frehner. He grew up in Brodhead, Wis., and was a 1960 graduate of Brodhead High School. Jim continued his education at Wisconsin State College-Whitewater and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in education in 1964.
On June 7, 1964, Jim married the love of his life, Marlene Pinnow, at State Line Lutheran Church in Rock Grove, Ill. The Lord blessed their union with three children, Gregory, Kevin and Joshua.
Jim and Marlene moved to Palmyra, Wis., soon after their wedding and Jim began his career in teaching at the Palmyra Elementary School. Jim would go on to have a 40-year career teaching in the Palmyra-Eagle Area School District.
He devoted his life to teaching young people in many different capacities. He taught children in the classroom, on the basketball court, football field, and softball diamond, just to name a few. He had a calm style and focused on the fundamentals in the classroom as well as on the court or field. He had an impact on thousands of people’s lives over the term of his career and he greatly enjoyed his time as a teacher and a coach.
For leisure, Jim enjoyed spending time with his family, enjoying a happy hour at Squidy’s with his friends, playing golf, traveling, taking in a Brewer game at Miller Park with his wife, having morning coffee with the round table at Citgo, and, of course, working a good crossword puzzle. It should also be noted that he was a lifelong Los Angeles Dodger fan.
Jim had a quiet personality, but always was ready with a good joke. His faith was important to him and he and his wife were members of St. Matthew Lutheran Church of Palmyra for many years.
Community involvement also was a major part of Jim’s life. He was a 20-year member of the Palmyra Fire Department, a longtime charter member of the Palmyra Lions Club and an active member of the Palmyra-Eagle Education Association, the Wisconsin Education Association and the National Education Association during his teaching career. He received honors and recognition by the Palmyra Alumni Association, Palmyra Lions Club and as a Palmyra Old Settler in the summer of 2019.
Jim will be dearly missed by his family, friends and students.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Marlene Frehner; his three sons, Gregory (Tonya) Frehner, Kevin (Brenda) Frehner and Joshua (Angie) Frehner; nine grandchildren, Jeramia (Meredith), Nicolas (Kristann), Troy (Elsie), Katrina (Clinton), Matthew, Cody, Payton, Owen and Knox; seven great-grandchildren; his brother, Dennis (Esther) Frehner of Goodyear, Ariz.; and his two brothers-in-law, Russel Pinnow and Larry (Mary) Pinnow. He also is survived by a number of nephews, nieces, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Jim’s honor may be made to the Palmyra-Eagle School Foundation or the Palmyra Lions Club.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Gibson Family Funeral Home in Palmyra (320 W. Main St. Palmyra, WI 53156).
The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Palmyra (313 W. Main St., Palmyra, WI 53156) with a lunch following. The Rev. Steven M. D. Blythe will officiate the service.
Jim will be laid to rest during a private family service at a later date.
Gibson Family Funeral Homes of Palmyra and Eagle is serving the family. To place an online condolence, please visit gibsonfuneral.com.