James F. “Jim” Lorge
09/18/1927 – 11/19/2020
James F. “Jim” “Big Daddy” Lorge, age 93, of the Harbor Club, Port Washington, Wisconsin passed away peacefully Thursday, November 19, 2020. Jim was a creative, sensitive man of many talents who loved deeply, worked hard, and gave the gift of joy and laughter to all those around him. Jim’s presence, welcoming smile, hugs, laughter, and sense of humor will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Jim was born on September 18, 1927 in Milwaukee, WI; son of Frank and Leona (Schiller) Lorge. Jim grew up in Milwaukee and Port Washington. He attended St. Frederick’s School in Cudahy, St. Elizabeth’s in Milwaukee, St. Mary’s in Port Washington, graduating from Port Washington High School.
Following graduation, Jim enlisted and served in the United States Navy from 1945 through 1947. Upon his discharge and return home, Jim began employment in 1948 as a maintenance mechanic at the Wisconsin Electric Power Plant in Port Washington, where he worked for nearly 40 years, retiring in 1987.
Jim married Ruth M. Schmit of Port Washington at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Port Washington on June 18, 1949. The couple had just recently celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary this year.
The Lorge family built their home on North Montgomery Street in Port Washington where they lived for many years, while raising their growing family. Following retirement Jim and Ruth relocated full-time to Scottsdale, AZ in 1990. In 2002 they returned as full-time Port Washington residents to be closer to family.
Jim and Ruth were life-long active members of St. Mary’s parish, and later with St. Peter’s parish (now St. John XXIII). Jim was a long-time member of St. John XXIII Men’s Society. He was extremely honored to have been nominated and awarded the Society’s “Man of the Year” award in 2008 by his peers. Many will remember Jim and Ruth staffing the take-out ticket booth for the annual Lenten parish fish fries and other parish events.
In the community, Jim was an active leader and local board member with the Boy Scouts for 15 years, an original and 40-year member of St. Vincent De Paul in both St. Mary’s parish in Port Washington, where he was very active in the startup of the Thrift Store and at St. Daniels parish in Scottsdale, AZ. Jim was also an active member, volunteer, and archiver with the Port Washington Historical Society, and a member of the International Association of Operating Engineers Local #317. Gifted with a lovely voice, Jim shared for over 45 years in numerous barbershop choruses in Port Washington, as well as in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ. Jim was an active member of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing In America (SPEBSQSA) for over 46 years.
Jim is survived by his children Phil Lorge of Tucson, AZ, Ann Louise Lorge of Port Washington, Allan (Nancy) Lorge of North Adams, MA, and Elizabeth “Lize” (Mike) Keller of Port Washington; grandchildren Jennifer (David) Anderson, and Beth Lorge, Ed Lorge, Max Lorge, and Erin McMahon, Bekky (Kodee) Dunham and Emily Keller; great-grandchildren Abigail Anderson, and Karsyn and Bowen Dunham. He is further survived by his sister Carol Ann Filo of Port Washington, and brother Bob (the late Carol) Lorge of Port Washington, sisters-in-law Barbara Bichler of Port Washington, Audrey Schmit of Bellevue, NB, and Joan (the late Jerry) Lorge of Appleton, WI; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends.
Preceding him in death is Ruth Lorge, his wife of 71 years on June 28, 2020, his sister Mary Joan (“Sis”) and her husband Larry Bruecher, brothers Dick and his wife Roseann Lorge, and Eugene Lorge and his wife Jean; Ruth’s sisters Cece and husband Harold “Harry” Preisler, Marion and husband Frank “Puch” Pujanauski, Ruth’s brothers Don Schmit, Elmer and his wife Lucille Schmit, and Bob and his wife Harriet Schmit.
Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, a Memorial Mass of Resurrection will be held sometime in the spring of 2021, followed by a celebration gathering of Jim’s life. Interment will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Port Washington.
The family extends a very sincere “thank you” with grateful appreciation to the staff and caregivers at Harbor Campus – Capri Communities, with particular thanks and appreciation to the staff and caregivers of Heartland Hospice, for the extraordinary care and attention they afforded Jim during these uncertain and pandemic constrained times.
Memorials to Port Washington High School Music Boosters and St. John XXIII Men’s Society are appreciated.
Poole Funeral Home / Crematory, Port Washington, Wisconsin assisting the family. Information and condolences available at www.poolefh.com or 262-284-4431.