James “Jim” Vitense, 83, of Tipton, Iowa passed away Friday, September 25, 2020 at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. A gathering* of family and friends will be Sunday, October 4 from 1-3 p.m. at the Cedar County Fairgrounds (Mathews building) in Tipton with a memorial service immediately following, Pastor Ron Lashmit officiating. *Masks are strongly encouraged at the gathering to celebrate Jim’s life.
Jim was born May 29, 1937 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Raymond and Juanita (Schoonover) Vitense. He married Betty Reuter February 5, 1956, had 5 children. and later divorced. Jim married Fern Dawson Koch on June 1, 1981.
Jim graduated from Tipton High School in 1955. He was a lifelong farmer and highly respected Duroc & Chester White breeder. His love of the land kept him active in farming until he moved to town in recent years. He spent many years showing hogs at county and state fairs, a tradition that his father started. He developed many friendships with his fellow breeders and showmen. Jim loved to talk on the phone. He spent numerous hours in conversation with family and friends. It wasn't unusual for him to strike up a conversation with a telemarketer. In earlier years, Jim served as Cedar County Co-op board member and was an active member of the Cedar County and Iowa Pork Producers, served on the UCC Church Council.
Jim is survived by his wife Fern Vitense, children Valnora (Kelvin) Keifer, Charles City and their children Melissa Ruyter, Jessica Spading and Sydney Keifer; Raymond (Barb) Vitense, Tipton and their children Jake, Kelsey and Aubrey Vitense; Molly Vitense (Eric Nelson), Clarence and children Mallory Gritton and Martha Jesuit; Jayne Vitense Holcomb (Kyle Selberg), Oak Park, IL, children Emily and Jackson Holcomb; Mandy (David) Lapke, Omaha, NE, children Dakota Horrocks and Irelyn Lapke; Carmen (Chris) Cook, Tipton, children Caitlin Stein, Seth Cook and Cole Cook; Tory (Sheila) Koch, Tipton, children Chance and Cody Koch; 5 great grandchildren and his special gal “Mousse” (his rescue dog).
Jim was preceded in death by his parents and grandsons Anthony Armstrong and Blake Holcomb.
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