Services for James Stanley Votava

James Stanley Votava

November 1, 1926 – August 17, 2019

Jim, age 92, of McIntosh, MN, passed away on August 17, 2019. He died peacefully with family and friends by his side.

A memorial service celebrating Jim’s life will be held at 1pm on Saturday, August 24 at Vernes Church north of McIntosh, followed by interment at Vernes Cemetery.  A visitation will be held 5-7pm Friday August 23, 2019, at the McIntosh Community Center followed by a prayer service at 7pm. Arrangements are with Carlin Family Funeral Service of Fosston, MN.

Jim was born to Frank and Agnes (Filar) Votava on November 1, 1926.   He was raised on a farm between Trail and Gully, MN. His independent, humble, caring, and humorous spirit are rooted among his experiences during the Great Depression and the enduring relationships established within his hometown community.

Jim attended school in Gully, Fosston and at Bemidji State University. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps at age 17 and served his country in both World War II and the Korean War.  Jim developed a lifelong adventurous disposition toward flying, hunting, farming, and social connections as he served the surrounding communities and worked as a rural mail carrier within Gully and then McIntosh. He retired after 37 years with the postal service. Jim then went on to work for R&L Ride Service providing transportation to and from medical appointments; always safely and with a smile and a story.

Jim married Eileen Johnson of Trail, MN, on August 1, 1959.  They settled on a farm by Oak Lake near McIntosh, MN, and built a rich life together.  Jim delivered mail and Eileen worked as a teacher; they became well-integrated to the fabric of the communities around McIntosh, Winger, Erskine, Fosston, Trail, and Gully.   They raised 5 children and gave mentorship and help to many others.  Jim provided an anchor to the family and community by caring for elderly neighbors, relatives and any child who needed a calm spot and an ear to listen.  He served on boards for the school, the Polk County Watershed District and was a major connection point in the community.  Jim was a proud veteran and member of the McIntosh VFW Post and Gully Legion.

On any given day, Jim could be found mending fences, fixing something in his shop, hunting, gardening, mowing, drinking coffee or talking politics. He really enjoyed flying airplanes and the aviation community. For many years, Jim dedicated his “free” time to raising beef cattle and farming. Jim was sought after for his sage advice including “keep the greasy side down and stay between the ditches,” a metaphor for life.  Jim spent the last years of his life devoted to the daily care of his loving wife, Eileen. They were married for nearly 60 years. Jim’s legacy and impact will be honored and celebrated for generations to come.

Jim is survived by; sister Jude Croft, sons David (Lesley) of Colorado Springs, CO;  Paul of McIntosh, MN, Mark (Vivian) of Stillwater, MN; Jeanie Sobieck (Dan) of Butte, ND and Dunnellon, FL; and Cathy Haden (Casey) of Stillwater, MN; 9 Grandchildren, Abigail and Adam (David and Lesley),  James and Candice (Paul and Amy), Jacob and Erick (Mark and Vivian), Benjamin (Meredith) Sobieck (Jeanie and Dan), Zachary and Alexander (Cathy and Casey); 2 Great Grandchildren William and Jane (Jeanie and Dan Sobieck). He also leaves a large extended family of nieces, nephews and cousins.  He is preceded in death by his parents Frank and Agnes (Filar) Votava, his sister Mary Ann (Votava) Leidholm and wife Eileen (Johnson) Votava.

The family of Jim request that memorials be designated directly to any of the following charities:

Alzheimer’s Association, Win-E-Mac Scholarship Fund, Vernes Church, Gully American Legion Post 603.


Directions to Vernes Church: From McIntosh, go 7.5 miles north on County Hwy 8 to 300 Street SW/County Hwy 5 (Vernes Church sign on the corner), go 3.5 miles east. 


Richards Publishing

P.O. Box 159
239 2nd Ave
Gonvick, MN 56644
Telephone: (218) 487-5225

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