James “Jim” Anderson


James William Anderson (Jim) was called home to heaven in the early morning hours of July 9, 2021.

Jim was born at home on August 28, 1932 in Toad Lake Township to Clara and Bill Anderson. Much of his youth was spent at the general store and tavern his family owned. He regaled us for years to come with endless stories of life at the Toad Lake Store. With a twinkle in his eyes, the characters came to life and the recollections were often funny and full of historical details. He was also busy with his trap lines before school and later taking a mobile roller skating set up from town to town.

After graduating from Frazee High School in 1950, he worked for a time on the Iron Range. He served during the Korean War in the Army 5th Field Artillery in Munich Germany from 1953-1955. The German he grew up speaking at home came in handy and helped add many interesting stories including the chance meeting of his great aunt who had never left Germany, in a café near Bremen.

On November 22, 1956 Jim was United in marriage to his best friend and wife of sixty years Elaine (Lainy) Mickelson.

After returning from the service Jim began a nearly sixty year career as a salesman and entrepreneur. His engaging personality, friendly demeanor and original ideas served him well. Many of those years were spent with Ralston Purina cultivating a great business portfolio as well as lifelong friendships with virtually every client. He was known for creating win-win outcomes for all involved.

Jim and Lainy spent 27 years in Thief River Falls where they raised their family. Jim was a life member of VFW Post 2793. Our family attended St. John’s Lutheran Church. Jim loved his family and was a man of great faith. He read his Portals of Prayer devotionals every afternoon. He enjoyed grilling on his 1960’s red Weber kettle, a good meal, a cold beer and warm peach pie with cream.

In 1993 Jim and Lainy moved back to Big Toad Lake. They loved being surrounded by family and friends. They were members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Evergreen. His sister Helen lived right next door. She was present at his birth and very close to him through his final days. Jim loved living at home, looking out over the lake and cozying up by the fireplace. A special thanks goes out to son Dan and niece Kay Mickelson (and family) for making it possible for Jim to spend his last years in the place he loved best.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife Lainy (2017); and his sister Lois Berndt (2006).

Jim is deeply missed and lovingly remembered by daughter Mary Beth Buffington (Gabriel Jabbour) of Orono MN; son Dan James Anderson of Toad Lake; 4 precious grandchildren Mackenzie Buffington (Pablo Sprechmann) of London UK, Billy Buffington of New York City, Keegan Buffington (Katie Garth) of Salt Lake City UT and Posie Buffington of Missoula MT; his sister Helen Mickelson and many dear nieces and nephews.

He often recited the lines he memorized as a young child for the church Christmas program in the 1930’s:

“To this vale of tears He comes, Here to serve in sadness, That with Him in heaven’s fair home, We may reign in gladness”

A celebration of his life will be held at a future date to be announced. Furey Funeral Home

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