James Raymond Teaser, age 85, passed away at his home in McGregor, Iowa, on December 2, 2017 after a short illness. He was born in southwestern Minnesota on November 16, 1932, at Hunt Hospital in Fairmont, the youngest child of Henry Raymond and Mary Lillian Hines Teaser.
Jim grew up on the family farm that was homesteaded by his great-great grandfather, Irish immigrant James Murphy. He attended a one-room schoolhouse through seventh grade as the only student in his grade. He graduated from Truman High School in 1950 where he was an all-conference football player. After high school, he got training at Gale Institute in Minneapolis as a railroad telegrapher, and then moved to northeast Iowa to begin his career as a clerk with the Milwaukee Road. From October 16, 1956 to July 15, 1958, Jim’s railroad career was interrupted when he served as a Private, SP5 in the U.S. Army. He did basic and radio operator training in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, before he was deployed as part of a missile battalion stationed near Mainz, Germany. After his service, he returned to full-time railroad work in Clayton County, Iowa, as a clerk at the Marquette Depot.
Jim immensely enjoyed his family and his many friends. He knew both the fun and the heartbreak that come from living life to its fullest. Jim married Roberta Brooks of McGregor on January 7, 1961, and together they raised two daughters, Susan and Robin. Roberta died in 1991. In 1994, Jim married Judy Weitz of Dubuque. Judy passed away in 2000. Jim cared for both of these women during the duration of their illnesses from cancer.
Jim was an entrepreneur. In the 1950s, he built and operated Teaser’s Motel in Clayton, Iowa. After his service in the Army, he, along with railroad buddies, Bob Ries and Lyle McKenzie, founded the Pink Elephant Supper Club in Marquette, and worked as the first chef of this popular establishment. In the 1970s, he founded and owned Diamond Jim’s Drive-Inn, also in Marquette.
Active in his community, Jim served the people of McGregor in many capacities. He was a member of the McGregor City Council, as well as a volunteer firefighter. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club, American Legion Post 305, St. Mary’s Catholic Church Parish Council, the McGregor Park Board, and a 25-year board member of the Interstate Federal Savings and Loan from 1992 to 2017.
Jim was an avid boater and spent as much time as possible on the Mississippi River. He owned a variety of boats over the years and was a member and past Commodore of the McGregor Upper Mississippi Yacht and Boat Club.His interests were many, but included traveling, golfing, playing card games, woodworking (he did much of the work on the house that he and Roberta designed and built in 1968), and sharing a beer with family and friends. He loved to cheer on his beloved Green Bay Packers and the Iowa Hawkeyes football and basketball teams.
Jim is survived by his wife, Karen (Lonning) Teaser of Waukon, who he married on April 22, 2005; daughters Susan (Eric) Anderson of Gwinn, Michigan, and Robin (Bob Sesterhenn) Roush of LaCrosse, Wisconsin; grandchildren Dylan Brown, Lydia Anderson, and Aidan Anderson; sister Muriel Joseph of Red Wing, Minnesota; numerous nieces and nephews; four step-sons and their spouses, and 15 step-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by wives Roberta and Judy, as well as a brother Mark Teaser, and sisters Mary Pytleski, Gladys Teaser, Anna Mae Campe, and Patricia Teaser.
Visitation will be held from 4-7 pm on Friday, December 15, 2017 at Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, McGregor, Iowa. There will also be a one hour visitation before Mass at the church on Saturday.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 am on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at St. Mary Catholic Church, McGregor, Iowa with Rev. Nils de Jesus Hernandez as the Celebrant.
Burial will follow at Pleasant Grove Cemetery, McGregor, Iowa.
Memorials can be made to McGregor Historical Society, Northeast Iowa Honor Flight, Martin County Minnesota Veteran’s Memorial, McGregor Public Library, McGregor Parks Committee, and Crossing Rivers Hospice in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.