James Sidney Almquist
May 28, 1934 to May 5, 2020.
Jim a handshake and a smile. A spiritual gift of Helps. He could sit with you for an hour and not say a word and yet enjoy his time thoroughly. A determined yet kind competitive spirit, he was always up for playing; street hockey, softball, cards, ping pong (when he at last beat mom). He came to every event imaginable of all his kids and grandkids. He made sure we all got back for Christmas in 2019 and that all 23 stockings were hung. He told everyone about it. That and his 60 plus music boxes that are all over the world. From Australia to Iceland to Germany and at least a dozen states, families are enjoying his amazing craftsmanship and love of doing a job right. It gave him great joy to bring joy to others. He would talk to anyone and Culver’s was his go to for food and new friends. A handshake to us boys he learned to hug, learned to bake bread, learned to unload the dishwasher. Most of all he continued to walk, learn and lean into his spiritual journey with Jesus. While tinkering with a dune buggy engine or tractor brought him fulfillment, sharing the Hymn Blessed Assurance with a nurse brought him eternal joy. The words “dad this won’t work” and the next thing you know he was telling you all about some amp or current you were never going to understand unless your name was Brian Prigge or Denny Meyer. He loved his sisters and brothers-in-law alike. Never did he have a mean word about anyone. He coached us quietly, supported our endeavors immensely and the only thing he didn’t like was if you were not wearing a seatbelt. He met mom, stopped drinking and started going to church. Found Jesus at a revival tent in Biloxi, Mississippi and continued to read his bible and grow in the Lord his entire life. The last thing he said: “Don’t be sad, I love you all.”
Jim died peacefully after a nine month struggle with a blood disorder that took away his stamina. He was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years, Marilyn Powell Almquist. His two sisters and their husbands, Lila (Dale) Cates of Kingston and Janet (Frank Hoeft) of South Haven, brother-in-law Lloyd Prigge of St. Cloud, his sister-in-law Pauline Matthees of Crystal.
He was born in Minneapolis and graduated from Annandale High School in 1952. He served in the Air Force for 10 years followed by a career as an Electrical Engineer at Control Data while living in Wayzata. In his retirement, he and Marilyn spent many working days at their farm/cabin near Clearwater.
He is survived by a sister Geraldine Prigge of Elk River and a brother-in-law Richard (Barbara) Powell of South Haven. Children Mary Jo (Ron) Steffenhagen of Maple Plain; Gary (Sandy) Almquist of Dallas, GA; Dean (Kaydene) Almquist of Lakeville. Grandchildren Jason (Michelle) Steffenhagen, Joseph Steffenhagen, Caleb (fiancé Holly) Steffenhagen, Megan (Kyle) Tait, Alison Almquist, Kelly Almquist, James (Bernadette) Almquist. Great-grandchildren Mateios and Michneyder Steffenhagen and Parker and Luke Tait. Many nieces and nephews. And nearly 60 recipients of his music boxes.
A service is being planned for early August in Wayzata.
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