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James Leitheiser

June 24, 1931-Oct. 7, 2010

James J. Leitheiser, 79, of Detroit Lakes, died Thursday, October 7, 2010 at Essentia Health in Fargo, surrounded by his loving family.

Visitation will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10, with a 5 p.m. prayer service, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Detroit Lakes. It will continue for one hour prior to services Monday at the church.

A mass of Christian burial is set for 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, with interment at Oak Grove Cemetery, Detroit Lakes.

James was born to John and Helena (Schmidt) Leitheiser on June 24, 1931 in Detroit Lakes. He was raised and educated in Detroit Lakes, graduating from Detroit Lakes High School in 1949. He enlisted in the United States Army, and proudly served his country during the Korean Conflict and on the island of Japan. He was honorably discharged Oct. 2, 1952 in Camp Carson, Colo., with the rank of sergeant.

James returned home to Detroit Lakes and was a heavy equipment operator for Jorgenson's Construction Company in Callaway. On June 7, 1955, he was united in marriage to Phyllis Soland in Douglas, Wyo. They made their home in Detroit Lakes and in 1963, started Evergreen Mink Ranch. They operated the mink ranch for 28 years.

After his mink ranch, James managed the Becker County Landfill for the next 10 years, before retiring in 2001. James had several passions: spending a lifetime of love with his wife Phyllis, gardening, hunting, fishing all the different lakes in the area, planting trees, cutting firewood for the winter months and picnicking with his family on Cotton Lake. He loved his family and truly treasured the time he shared with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He will always be known for his generous spirit, quiet nature and love for his family.

James will be remembered and deeply missed by his wife of 55 years, Phyllis of Detroit Lakes; children, Doug (Sheri) Leitheiser of Rochert, Mark (Mary) Leitheiser of Fairfax, Minn., Jane (Walt) Kozitka of Detroit Lakes and Wayne (Sara) Leitheiser of Audubon. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren; three great grandchildren; and one sister, Pat (Virgil) Mastin of Detroit Lakes.

Preceding him in death were his parents; sister Betty Becotte; and brother Thomas Leitheiser.

David Donehower Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Memories of James may be shared online at