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Published December 27, 2012, 12:00 AM

James "Jim" Hougen

March 8, 1929 – December 25, 2012

James “Jim” Hougen, age 83 of Larimore, ND, passed away Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 4000 Valley Square Woodside Village in Grand Forks, ND.

James "Jim" Hougen

March 8, 1929 – December 25, 2012

James “Jim” Hougen, age 83 of Larimore, ND, passed away Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 4000 Valley Square Woodside Village in Grand Forks, ND.

Christmas morning, Jim Hougen’s gift was being set free from a body no longer able to give wing to his imagination. He was on this earth 83 years.

Jim had no fear of death, but curiosity about what would happen tomorrow kept him going for years. He loved to be busy, and to the chagrin of his children, all trips home were filled with projects to be done. Business was next to godliness. For years, Jim ran a retail business in Larimore started by his father, which he later named “Leonard’s.” He also built houses, sold and installed floor covering, helped build the Larimore Golf Course, and was involved with other things too numerous to mention.

Jim had a lifelong love of Republican politics and served a term in the North Dakota House of Representatives and the North Dakota Constitutional Convention, as well as many years on the Larimore School Board.

A lifelong member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, he served on the church council, sang in the church choir, and taught Sunday School – he loved to take his Sunday School class on a trip to the Metropolitan Stadium to see the Minnesota Twins.

Jim was an avid fan of local sports – his favorite team being the Larimore Polar Bears, followed by the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, all other North Dakota teams, the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Vikings, and Lakers - even though they moved to California. Sunday drives for his family often involved a trip to see the Twins play. Family trips around the United States often involved driving around big cities to see the local stadiums.

We have a cherished family photo of Jim. After a snow storm he decided it was time to clear the walk. The picture shows Jim being pushed in his wheel chair by Vella, he in turn is pushing his snowblower. Neither practical nor efficient, but it was an opportunity to be busy. For the last 20 years of his life, he sported only one leg, but none of us could keep up.

Jim celebrated Christmas Eve with his earthly family. We attended a church service and he sang Silent Night with a strong voice.

Christmas Day was celebrated with those that left before him: His parents, Leonard and Gladys (Larson) Hougen, his brother Lloyd and his sister Doris (Shide). Always an adventuresome traveler, he joins his sons Charlie and Paul who will guide him to his new home.

Jim leaves behind Vella (Olson) the love of his life and wife of 61 years. His sister-in-law Margaret Tank and brother-in-law Bob Shide also survive him. Also left behind are his sons, John (Michelle) and David, and daughters Jane Hougen, Ardis (Craig) Kraft and Susan (Marty) Lieberg and daughter-in-law Stephanie Hougen. His grandchildren, Meghan (Brandon) Fortman, Erik (Becky) Hougen, Rachel (Ryan) Galemore, Krysta Hougen, Luke Kraft, Carlie Hougen, Emma & Sarah Hougen, Ben & Kjerstie Lieberg, and four great-grandsons Elijah, Caden, William, and Liam.

Jim’s family is grateful for the wonderful care he received at the Larimore Good Samaritan Center and at 4000 Valley Square Woodside Village the last two years. A service was held December 27 in Larimore to remember his life.

SERVICES will be held Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10 a.m. in the Bakke Funeral Chapel, Larimore, ND.

Arrangements by Bakke Funeral Home, Larimore North, Dakota.

Online guestbook: www.bakkefuneralhomes.com.