James George LaMaack passed away on April 21, 2022 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Gatos, surrounded by his family.
Jim was born February 22, 1938 on a farm in Minnesota, as the youngest of seven children, to Emil LaMaack and Alvina Wahl. He spoke often of his experiences growing up on a farm: up early every morning and working hard through the day. His childhood was the foundation of his lifelong passion for growing fruits and vegetables in his greenhouse, garden and orchard.
He joined the U.S. Navy at an early age, and left home to go and see the world. He often spoke fondly of his time aboard the USS Penguin and USS Cross. In the service, he gained skills that he would bring with him to California where he pursued his dream: to start his own business. That business was Westside Underground, a construction company that thrived under his leadership for over five decades.
Jim married Fern Grafelman in 1964. He later remarried, in 1976, to Sandy (Dodson) LaMaack and they remained inseparable until Sandy passed away in 2015. Jim and Sandy raised their blended family at the home he built in Saratoga. Fortunately the family was able to care for Jim and keep him in his beloved home until his very final days.
Jim leaves behind a large and loving family. Sisters: Betty Brake and Marian Thrain. Children: Theresa Lubsen, James LaMaack, Jeff Mitchell, Karen Burke, Denise Mitchell, JoAnn LaMaack, and Brett Mitchell. Grandchildren: James LaMaack, Jr., Jessica Lynam, Emma Mitchell, Morgan Burke, Shannon Smejkal, Nicholas Adam, Andrew Lubsen and four great grandchildren.
Anyone who met Jim knew him as a guy who loved to laugh, who was always ready to share a story or talk about his passions: hunting, gardening, making his own hot sauce and restoring vintage cars (1957 T-birds especially). He loved to have family and friends over for barbecues and holiday gatherings. With such a big family there would often be ten or twenty people in the kitchen, laughing and talking — Jim loved nothing better. He will be missed.
There will be a memorial service Saturday April 30 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 14103 Saratoga Ave, Saratoga. He will be laid to rest beside his beloved Sandy at Los Gatos Memorial Park, 2255 Los Gatos Almaden Rd., San Jose.
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