James Henry Jurries, son to John and Hazel (Renfro) Jurries, who was born on July 16, 1938, in Blue Island, Illinois was reunited in Heaven on February 17, 2023 with his greatest love Barbara Ann (Shipe) Jurries. Known to all as JJ, he had many experiences throughout his life. JJ began his quest for knowledge beginning in high school when he earned a job at Northern Illinois Gas Company and he learned the skill of pipe fitting. In 1967, he met and married the love of his life, Barbara Shipe. Together, they had two sons, Robert and Jack.
After visiting family in Minocqua, JJ and Barb decided they had an interest in learning how to grow plants. In 1970, with $7,000 to their name, they purchased a nursery greenhouse in Lake Tomahawk and moved their family north in pursuit of the American dream of owning their own business which in honor of his father, they called JJ’s Acres.
JJ was not only committed to caring for his family and establishing a greenhouse business, he was also committed to his community. From the time JJ and Barb moved to Lake Tomahawk until 1985, JJ served as the town board supervisor for many years working to improve the area. Some of JJ’s best memories were planning and shooting off the 4th of July fireworks for all of Lake Tomahawk.
In 1983, JJ and Barbara moved JJ’s Acres to Woodruff, where they worked the family business with their sons Rob and Jack. JJ’s Acres grew over the years as JJ always had creative ideas and visions of grandeur. One of these ideas was to build a miniature golf course which he designed as a magical place to enjoy all of JJ’s favorite things: beautiful waterfalls, flowers, and of course, golf. In addition to growing plants and landscaping, JJ was very successful in taking care of his passion of growing by becoming an expert in water systems.
Today, JJ’s son Jack, along with his wife Judy proudly carry on the family business.
JJ was an excellent golfer in his day and had planned to pursue his PGA tour card when he was involved in a tragic accident. Golf continued to be a passion for JJ and although not professional, he experienced much success on the golf course including four holes-in-one. His favorite, on Father’s Day, being the one witnessed by his sons, Rob and Jack.
In addition to growing plants, JJ enjoyed his home which he shared with his family on Lake Minocqua. Papa JJ, as his children and grandchildren called him, loved fishing for crappies and dazzled them with his skill of using a cane pole. In addition to golfing and fishing, JJ had other hobbies which kept him busy like bowling, coaching Lake Tomahawk Pony League, fixing any broken object and growing giant tomato plants that amazed his family. JJ was a hard worker and took very little time off, but looked forward to fall fishing trips to Canada with family and friends.
He will be dearly missed by his sons Robert and Jack and their wives (who were like daughters to him) Susan (Fritz) and Judy (Robertson). JJ’s pride and joy were his grandchildren; Robert, Maxwell, Stevie, Jonathan, Joey, Nicki and Malina and his nephew Billy Rutz. JJ is survived by his older sister Norma Rutz and many life-long friends including Terry Tessmer, Marcie Olson, and Robert Miller. He is preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Barbara and his son Michael.
A visitation for JJ will take place on Friday, February 24, from 4-6pm with a 6pm Celebration of Life service and dinner to follow. All services will take place at Nimsgern’s Funeral Home in Woodruff, WI.