James ‘Big Jim’ H. Jesperson Sr.
It is with sadness that we share that James ‘Big Jim’ H. Jesperson Sr., age 79, of Merrill, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, with his loving family by his side. Trying to sum up who Big Jim was in a few short paragraphs is an injustice to him. He was loved by so many and was quick to share a laugh with everyone. A man that was known so well in the community yet never looked for anything but enjoying a good time. Jim was born on May 23, 1944, to the late Paul and Dina (Westra) Jesperson in Kenosha, WI. He attended and graduated high school in Kenosha, before joining the U.S. Air Force where he spent time stationed in Japan and Korea. Jim met Flori Fust and the two exchanged marriage vows on November 29, 1991. Jim also worked as a UPS driver for 31 years before he retired. He enjoyed building relationships with the people he delivered to and sharing conversations with them. He was also an owner at Salvo’s Pizza in Merrill for many years where he got to know his customers well. Jim was a loving husband and devoted partner throughout their 31 years of marriage. They met while Jim was living down the street from Salvo’s pizza through James Jesperson Jr. His love of pizza struck up the conversation, and they were inseparable ever since. They had a loving, happy, and lively marriage. Among many things, Jim will always be known first and foremost as an amazing husband, a committed father, and a great friend. Family was first and foremost for Big Jim. With seven children and sixteen grandchildren, Jim sat at the driver’s seat for all the rowdy family gatherings, filled with shenanigans, and laughter. He is remembered by his family as a witty man, with a heart as big as him, selfless, and loving. Jim was a member at St. John Lutheran Church in Merrill, Merrill Trap Club, Rib Mountain Archery Club, Merrill Eagles and Merrill Lions, as well as some various exercise groups. Jim looked forward to watching his children and grandchildren’s sporting events. He loved shooting trap and deer hunting season. He also enjoyed playing golf and fishing occasionally. The comradery and conversation were always more important than the results or scores. While he loved gatherings, talking to people and building relationships, he never was one to be the center of attention. He was quick to share his opinions but also appreciated others. He never wanted much fuss over himself but would be the first to offer the shirt off his back or lend a hand.
Jim leaves behind his legacy to his wife: Flori Jesperson, children: Jay (Stacy) Jesperson, Leeann (Todd) Farber, Lyndsey Jesperson – Steen, James (Cassandra) Jesperson Jr., Heidi (Josh) Odegard, Paul (Erin) Jesperson and David Jesperson, grandchildren: Lincoln, Evan, Avery, Cooper, Sophia, Isabelle, Conlan, Mason, Declan, Maggie, Amelia, Finley, Allie, Hudson and Chloe. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers: Carl and Bill Jesperson and granddaughter: Madelyn Odegard.
While we mourn the loss of Big Jim, we also appreciate the memories we have of the man. Your memory will live on with all of us.
A memorial service for Jim will be held on Saturday, August 19, 2023, at 12pm at St. John Lutheran Church in Merrill. Pastor David Szeto will officiate. Visitation will be held on Saturday, August 19, 2023, from 10am until the time of the service, also at the church. Military honors will immediately follow the service and will take place at the church. In lieu of flowers, family requests that donations in Jim’s name be sent to Waid Funeral Home, 301 Eagle Drive, Merrill, WI 54452, for Mighty Maddy’s Mission. Family wishes to thank the staff and doctors at the Aspirus Wausau Hospital and to Devita Dialysis, especially to Becky and Dr. Abrego, for their kindness, professionalism and care shown to Jim and the family. Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.