|James Musser, 55|
|Written by TRF Times|
Thief River Falls - James (Jim) Musser, a resident of Thief River Falls, died at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, N.D., on Friday, Oct. 14 – three days after his 55th birthday – following a two-year battle with cancer compounded by recent lung complications.
A celebration of Jim’s life was held Monday, Oct. 17 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, with Father Rick Lambert presiding.
Viewing and visitation at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah, Iowa, will be held on Thursday, Oct. 20 from 4 to 7 p.m. Viewing will also take place one hour prior to Mass of Christian Burial, which will be held on Friday, Oct. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah, Iowa. Monsignor Ed Lechtenberg (and family friend) will preside. Burial will be at St. Benedict Cemetery.
Jim was born on Oct. 11, 1956 in Decorah, Iowa to Arland and Barbara (Hartman) Musser. Jim’s birth parents preceded him in death in 1962 and 1969. Jim was lovingly raised by his ‘parents’ Charles and Marcella Rooney of Decorah until after his graduation from Decorah High School in 1975.
Jim married his beloved Navajo wife Roberta (Bobbie) Manuelito on October 15, 1988 in Denver, Colo. There he worked for US West and Wells Fargo, until his life’s work became compassionate and meaningful service to individuals with mental and physical disabilities.
In 2002, Jim and Bobbie moved to the Upper Midwest region to be closer to Jim’s family, comprised of caring parents, siblings, nieces and one nephew. Jim’s greatest joys and delights were Bobbie, family gatherings, fishing, spectator sports, tinkering with home improvements, silver smithing, playing his Native American flute, and enjoying four-legged, furry friends. Jim’s deep respect for Navajo culture, prayers and ceremonial traditions sustained him throughout his life.
At the Mental Health Division of Northwest Medical Center (Sanford Medical Center) in Thief River Falls, Jim worked as a therapeutic activities coordinator and in community-based support services, assisting clients with mental health issues. He was deeply committed to making a difference in their lives and inspired hope so they may deal more effectively with their life challenges.
Jim is survived by his devoted wife of 23 years, Roberta Manuelito of Thief River Falls; beloved mother: Marcella Rooney of Decorah, Iowa; three loving sisters: Arla (Paul) Green of Lafayette, Ind., Sandra Steward and Ellie Wiemerslage both of Albert Lea, and “the world’s greatest brother” David (Annette) Rooney of Decorah, Iowa; and kindhearted nephew and nieces: Kade, Bess, Hannah, Kaitlyn, Emma, Clara, Ellen, Alicia, and Shayla; and Pat Luren—lifetime family friend.
Additional surviving family members include Carol and Ronnye Manuelito, mother- and brother-in-law of Naschitti, N.M.; sisters-in-law: Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet of Seattle, Wash., Eugenia and Brenda Manuelito of Tucson, Ariz.; and numerous aunts, uncles, special friends and “Sanford and Digi-Key Family” members.
Jim is preceded in death by his birth parents Arland and Barbara (Hartman) Musser; father-in-law, Robert Manuelito; beloved cocker spaniels Trooper and Whitney; and most recently, on June 17, 2011, his dad and fishing companion, Charles Rooney.
“May each person whose lives were touched by Jim’s gentle and quiet spirit strengthen and sustain you as you Walk in Beauty.”