James "Jim" Albert Widtfeldt, 75, of O'Neill, died Sunday, April 30, 2023 at Arbor Care Center in O'Neill.
Visitation was held Friday, May 5, 2023 at the First United Methodist Church in O'Neill.
Funreral services were held Friday, May 5, 2023 at the church in O'Neill. Rev. Bob Wynn officiated.
Burial was in the O'Neill Cemetery in O'Neill.
Memorials may be made to the Amedisys Foundation, 3854 American Way, Suite A, Baton Rouge, LA 70816 in James' name.
Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill was in charge of the arrangements.
James was born Nov. 18, 1947 in O'Neill to Albert Theodore Widtfeldt and Gusteva Emma (Peterson) Widtfeldt. He grew up on family land 20 miles northwest of O'Neill which was homesteaded by his great-grandfather John Vequist, who had emigrated with his family from Sweden.
Jim attended country grade school and graduated from O'Neill Public High School. He attended Wayne State College for a year before being awarded a full scholarship to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, MA. Jim earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from MIT and then his doctorate, also in math, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York.
His dreams of entering the space program -- he spent many boyhood hours building and firing off rockets -- were dashed when federal cutbacks put hiring on hold. He had planned to study further in engineering at Stanford University in California but took a juris doctor degree instead at the University of Nebraska Law College in 1978 to assist his parents in their rental housing and ranching businesses in Holt County.
Jim suffered a disabling stroke in 2021 as well as metastasized prostate cancer and declined in health until his death.
Jim is survived by his sister Norma (Widtfeldt) Skjold of O'Neill and many cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents Albert and Gusteva Widtfeldt.
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