James “Jim” C. Puchalski

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James “Jim” C. Puchalski, 93, of Buffalo Lake, Minnesota, passed away Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at Carris Health Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, Minnesota.

Mass of Christian Burial was held Saturday, September 18, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bird Island with interment in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Hector Township. Father George Schmit officiated; organist was Judy Schindler; song leader was Amy Hollan; musicians were Joseph, Ben, and Kate Hillesheim; musical selections were “You Are Mine” “On Eagle’s Wings” “We Remember” “Eye Has Not Seen” “How Great Thou Art”; urn bearer was Dustin Nelson.

James Carl Puchalski was born August 14, 1928, in Morris, Minnesota. He was the son of Otto and Fern (Gepner) Puchalski. Jim was baptized as an adult at St. John’s Catholic Church in Hector and confirmed in his faith as a youth, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Benson, Minnesota. He received his education at Danvers Public School in Benson.

July 10, 1948, Jim was united in marriage to Elizabeth Mihm at St. John’s Catholic Church in Hector. This marriage was blessed with 10 children: Jeanne, Mary, Roberta, Lawrence, Michael, Katherine, Theresa, Timothy, Dana, and Corey. Jim and Bette resided in Benson for a short time and then spent the rest of their life together in Buffalo Lake. They shared 43 years of marriage until the passing of Bette,  March 8, 1992.

Jim began an impressive baking career at 16 in the Benson Bakery, and he loved sharing many stories about his years there. After their marriage, Jim and Bette owned and operated the Buffalo Lake Home Bakery for 47 years, building a small-town institution that is still remembered with great fondness. Jim invented many of his best recipes, including the accidental creation of cinnamon sticks, and his bakery was known for its delicious peanut bars, breads, and rolls. Jim retired from the bakery in 1991, but continued to bake for decades longer.

At age 70, he started a new business. He bought a sawmill and built his own wood kiln to add to his existing woodworking shop in the backyard. Jim enjoyed making cabinets and other items for the church, nursing home, and the Ronald McDonald House. He also spent his time on many woodworking projects for his children and grandkids. Jim had a quick mind and keen sense of humor, and you could count on him for giving inspiring, heartfelt advice to those he loved. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. Jim was a member of St. John’s Catholic Church in Hector, and more recently, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bird Island.

Jim passed away  Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at Carris Health Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, at the age of 93 years and one month.

Jim is survived by his children:  Jeanne Kadelbach of Buffalo Lake, Mary Karl of Hutchinson, Lawrence Puchalski of Buffalo Lake,  Michael Puchalski and his wife, Laura, of Bird Island, Katherine Bengtson of Spicer, Theresa Nelson and her husband, Francis, of Hector, Timothy Puchalski and his wife, Deanna, of Hutchinson, Dana Hillesheim and her husband, Bob, of Buffalo Lake, Corey Puchalski and his wife, Susan, of Richfield; 27 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; sisters, Patricia Baker and her husband, Norman, of Willmar, Mary Ellen Hoefer of Benson, Ruth Ann Cleary of Benson,  Joyce Verch and her husband, Jack, of Pennock, Shirley Razink and her husband, Tom, of Clontarf, Helen Lee and her husband, Dick, of Benson; brother, Otto “Butch” Puchalski of Benson;  many other relatives and friends.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Otto and Fern Puchalski; wife, Elizabeth Puchalski; daughter, Roberta Hirschel; grandson, Christopher Karl; great-grandson, Ethan Bah; sister in infancy; sister, Beverly Hoffman; brothers, Raymond Puchalski, Edward Puchalski; father and mother-in-law, Alfred and Bertha Mihm; sons-in-law, Dwayne Kadelbach, Bruce Karl, Lance Bengtson.

Blessed be his memory.

Arrangements by the Hughes-Hantge Funeral Chapel in Hector. Online Obituaries and Guest Book available at www.hantge.com.

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