James Michael Kolker was born May 11, 1970, the son of Thomas and Camilla (Hughes) Kolker in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Jim attended and graduated from Ipswich Public school and continued his education at the University of South Dakota. His career path was in sales; he had an engaging personality and excelled in this field. At the onset of disease, he was the diagnostic services representative for St. Luke’s hospital in Sioux City, Iowa.
On August 29, 1998 he married Christine Rekenthaler and together they had two beautiful children, Annie and Tommy. His last spoken words were those of his children. Jim valued his friendships and had many. He loved sports and was an outstanding high school athlete. He was a natural leader: football quarterback and student body president. He cheered for the Pittsburg Steelers and was a devoted fan of the Notre Dame Irish. Some would call his devotion “obnoxious”.
Jim accepted his disease as a part of life. Soon after his diagnosis he volunteered along with his brother, Chris, to be a part of a research study by Mayo Clinic. He spent the last six years living and being well cared for at Prairie Cottages in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Jim is survived by his children, Annie and Tommy, of St. Michael, Minnesota. His mother, Camilla Kolker-Sparks of Albert Lea. Two brothers, Dan (Angie) Kolker of Albert Lea and Patrick (Laura) Kolker of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, stepsister Mary (John) Schulte of Albert Lea, his niece and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Tom, his brother, Chris, and his stepfather, Paul Sparks.
The family would like to thank the Prairie Cottages staff for their dedication to Jim’s comfort. Memorials are preferred to Kolker USD Scholarship Fund.
Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 AM on Wednesday, August 25 at St. Theodore Catholic Church in Albert Lea. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church.
Arrangements are with the Bonnerup Funeral Service in Albert Lea.