It was a Tuesday in the little town of Martin, South Dakota when John and Katherine Kamerzell were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their 5th child. The clinic at that time was located above the Buckhorn Bar in downtown Martin. The date was October 7th, 1930, when the young family welcomed their 2nd son into the world. They named their baby boy James, who would throughout his life be called simply Jim.
Jim grew up on the family farms located in Bennett County, South Dakota. The times were hard and the Kamerzell children were taught early to carry their share of the workload. Jim joined his older brother Marion in shouldering farm duties and chores which helped to develop a work ethic in Jim that he carried throughout his life.
He attended country school from the 1st through the 8th grade and in the fall of 1945, Jim enrolled in Bennett County High School located in Martin, South Dakota. Jim was not only popular but distinguished himself as a natural athlete. He participated and excelled in all sports and particularly enjoyed playing basketball.
It was during his high school days that Jim fell deeply in love with a young, timid fellow high school student named Mary Florine Estes. Florine, as she was known, captured Jim’s heart and never let go. Jim and Florine would marry soon after they both finished high school and shared life together until Florine’s passing in 2014.
After high school, Jim worked a few years in various construction jobs but eventually landed a position at the local Coast to Coast Store in Martin, South Dakota. Just as Florine had captured Jim’s heart in high school, the hardware business captured Jim’s interest while in his early 20’s and never let go. Jim would become a natural at the retail hardware business and would spend the next 44 years developing and maintaining one of Gordon’s premier Main Street businesses. In 1953, Jim and Florine moved to Nebraska to open a Coast-to-Coast Store in Gordon. While Jim developed the business, Florine maintained the home and raised the children. Jim and Florine were blessed with 6 kids, five girls and one boy. Linda, Dianne, Rick, Kristy, Sandra and Amy. Amazingly, Florine took care of all the domestic duties and raised 6 children all while working part time at the hardware store.
Jim not only excelled in business, he also served in various capacities in the Gordon Community. He served as Mayor, was a volunteer fireman, Vice President of the Nebraska Junior Chamber of Commerce, an Elder for the Grace Lutheran Church and on and on.
In 1994, Jim and Florine sold their hardware business and spent the next 20 years traveling and enjoying their retirement. Throughout Jim’s life he enjoyed fishing and hunting, playing golf and spending time with his kids and grandkids. Two words perfectly characterize Jim’s life. Stability and consistency. A marriage of 66 years, a business of 44 years, living at the same address for 60 years, and most importantly the same smile, disposition and friendly spirit throughout his long life. He treated people with respect and dignity. Jim passed away in his home with his children around him early last Sunday Morning September 12, 2021, at the age of 90 years, 11 months and 5 days.
Jim is preceded in death by his wife Florine, his daughter Dianne, his parents, his 2 brothers and five sisters. He is survived by one sister Barbara Bowman, his daughters, Linda and husband Rich Halverson, Kristy Hughes, Sandra and husband Wayde Boldon, Amy and husband John Dykstal, son: Rick Kamerzell and wife Carliss, son-in-law Win Saults, 11 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Services were held at the Grace Lutheran Church, Gordon, Nebraska on September 17, 2021, and burial was at the Gordon Cemetery. A memorial has been established and donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home, PO Box 366, Gordon, NE, 69343.