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In Memory of James Pollitt

Funeral Service

3:00 pm - 3:45 pm
Friday November 20, 2020
Gethsemane Lutheran Church
1350 Florence Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

Gathering of Friends & Family

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thursday November 19, 2020
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
1010 Newton Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

James Thomas Pollitt, age 74 of Baldwin, formerly Indiana died November 14th, 2020 at Mayo Health System in La Crosse, WI. James was born on March 6, 1946 in Terre Haute, Indiana; the son of James and Vera (Cox) Pollitt. He attended Maryland Grade School, Youngstown Junior High School, and then graduated from Honey Creek High School in 1964. He attended Indiana State University for one year studying music.  He decided this was not what he had hoped it would be and quit school, going to work for the Conservatory of Music, teaching Guitar and selling instruments.  At this same time, he also enlisted in the armed forces where he served several years with the Air National Guard.

On September 15, 1968, his life became complete when he married his best friend, Sue Christina Rodgers at the United Methodist Temple Church in Terre Haute. Not that he lived a sheltered life, but Sue’s family taught him the simple things in life, like how to swim and water ski. Sue, a river rat herself, helped Jim find the peace and fun that comes with camping and boating. Together, many fun memories were made with the family which now was blessed with two children.  They spent a great deal of time camping, boating, and riding bicycles and motorcycles in the Wabash River Valley.   

Sue and Jim shared so many interests, but one that was near and dear to their heart was music. Jim was part of several bands earlier in life.  He started out in a band called the Travelers in 1961, where he and Rene Foli the drummer and his best friend, remained the two constant band members. They later changed the name to The Mourning Missed and played on until 1985 when Jim moved to Bastrop Texas with his career at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Over the years spent in Texas, Baraboo, WI, and Kearney, MO, he continually started or became part of many bands, playing gigs and events any and everywhere, including church! Jim eventually caved and joined Sue in the church choir in Kearney, which was a dream come true for Sue!

One of the most rewarding and favorite gigs they played for over 14 years was their own dynamic duo act, featuring big band tunes and a plethora of old-time songs and favorites from the 20s-50s for various Senior Living and Assisted Living communities in the area. They sang at nursing homes also and thoroughly enjoyed this music ministry which brought them the greatest satisfaction of watching folks light up with joy and memories of times gone by, especially those afflicted with Alzheimers who knew the words with perfect clarity despite their condition.  Those who came to visit the farmers market in Baldwin the past couple of years were graced with their unique renditions that sported toe-tapping, dancing, and sing-a-longs from passers-by and many of the vendors!  In addition to this music ministry, Jim also joined the local band Crabgrass with his son Jack and played all around the area.  Thrilling for both Jim and Jack was when his Grandson Jonathan sat in a few times playing drums with them.  Three generations in one group was exciting for all!!

Jim also enjoyed wintering down south in Texas or occasionally Florida and riding his motorcycle with Sue. What started with a Cushman Scooter turned into a Honda Goldwing as he got older and they took many trips with friends, even trying their hand at towing a motorcycle trailer and camping along the way!  His children surprised him and Sue with a Trike Kit on their current Gold Wing for their 50th Anniversary in 2018. 

Jim will forever remain in the hearts of his wife Sue; children Jack (Jennifer) Pollitt of Baldwin, Christina (Jamie) Haverman of Roberts; grandchildren Jonathan, Julia, James, Ruth, Rachel; siblings June Cullen of Portage, WI, Jay (Diane) Pollitt of Naperville, IL. He is preceded in death by his parents; brother Jack (Mary) Pollitt, Brother-in-law James Cullen.

Funeral service for James will be 3PM, Friday November 20th at Gethsemane Lutheran Church. This service will be live-streamed through Gethsemane’s Facebook page! Visitation will be on Thursday, November 19th from 5pm to 7pm at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin, as well as one hour prior to the service at church on Friday. Burial will be in his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana at Durham Cemetery. Military honors paying tribute to his service in the Air National Guard and the Federal Prison System will be provided by the Baldwin American Legion Post. Memorials are preferred and will be used to further his passions such as Wounded Warriors and music ministries that he and Sue proudly created. Funeral services entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Baldwin. 


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James's Tribute Wall

Tributes (8):

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    • I recall so many late night drives back and forth to play at dances but I mostly remember Jim’s excitement one afternoon when we stopped by a farm on the Old Paris Road on the way to sign a contract to see a girl that he had recently met. That was the happiest that I ever saw him.

      Jim, I was hoping that you could pull some magic from that mysterious small black “bag of tricks” and get through this just once more.

    • I wanted to pass along my condolences to the Haverman family and other loved ones of James Pollitt. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you navigate through this tragedy.

      With Respect,

    • Well big guy sure going to miss being able to go camping with you, enjoying your singing and music. Sure had a lot of fantastic times together with you, Sue and the kids. Remembering all the times at Brown County and especially the three ring fire and hot dam. Love you a lot and keep on traveling and singing, the angels will enjoy it.

    • I have many memories from high school of coming over to the Pollitt household, and all of them are good. Condolences to the entire family.

    • Jim left us all with so many wonderful memories, boating on the lakes of Texas, riding ATV’s in Bastrop and yearly personal concerts for mom and dad while visiting Texas. We will miss his laugh and smile and deep voice. But I am sure he is singing in heaven with some really familiar faces of old friends and family. What a party they must be having now that the BASS has arrived.

      With Love,
      Elizabeth Rodgers and
      Omar and Brenda Guerra

    • My sweet Uncle Jimmy! Always kind. Always doing for others. Always laughing and having a good time. A true gentle man. If more people were like him the world would be a better place!! Hugs to Aunt Sue and the Pollitt crew. Uncle Jimmy loved you so much and was extremely proud of his kids and grandkids. ❤️

    • Jim was one of my first long-term friends, from grade school on. We wandered the back-roads south of Terre Haute on our motorbikes on many a summer day, were in the high school band together, and formed our own combo in the mid-60s – a band that performed for another 20 years, although the original group broke up in ’75. Jim was my first guitar teacher. After the band broke up, he gave selflessly of his time to entertain residents of nursing homes and, I’m sure members of his church and others. Goodbye, old friend.

    • We were so sorry to hear about Jim’s passing. He was always such a nice, kind man, he will truly be missed. Our sincere condolences to his entire family. God bless.