James Allen Gilbertson
  • Born on: May 5, 1940
  • Departed on: May 2, 2024
  • Resided in: Cedar Falls, IA

James Allen Gilbertson

James Allen Gilbertson, age 83, of Cedar Falls, formerly of Ackley, died Thursday, May 2nd, while staying at the Hospice Suite at UnityPoint Allen Hospital. He passed just 3 days shy of his 84th birthday.  

Jim was born May 5, 1940, in Mason City, Iowa, to Amos & Edna Gilbertson. Jim spent his childhood enjoying and helping with the family farm just north of Hanlontown. He was baptized and confirmed at Grace Lutheran Church in Hanlontown, and graduated from Hanlontown High School in 1958. 

Just over a year later, he married the love of his life, Judy Yvonne Suby, after having known each other since early childhood. The pair were married at the Little Brown Church in Nashua. After their July 17, 1959 wedding, they went on to raise a beautiful family, blessed with three daughters: Becky, Beth, and Sara.

For Jim, agriculture was both a birthright and a passion. He worked in the industry his entire life, making countless lifelong friends during his years as a District Manager for Trojan Seed. After the family relocated from Hanlontown to Ackley for Jim’s career, he worked in sales for W.R. Grace, and retired in 2007 as manager of the Geneva Elevator. 

If Judy was Jim’s truest love, golf was a close second. You could find him many days at his home course in Ackley where he scored a hole in one twice, and shared his passion for the game with his sons-in-law and eventually his grandchildren. 

Making generations’ worth of precious memories together, Jim and Judy traveled on their motorcycle to Colorado with friends and enjoyed many a winter away from the harsh chill of Iowa in Arizona. Jim’s love of agriculture and childhood farm experience shone through in his many hobbies including grilling to perfection, gardening with great success, making an unmatched “Jim and Tonic,” and maintaining an absolutely impeccable lawn. 

Jim will be missed dearly for so many reasons, from the care and heart he put into raising his family to the many ways he contributed to his communities throughout his life - as a member of the church, as an avid golfer, a wonderful friend, and an exceptional father, grandfather, and (in recent years) great grandfather. 

Jim is survived by his wife, Judy, of Cedar Falls, and three daughters:  Becky (Mark) Willems of Monona, Beth Hoffman of San Diego, and Sara (Tim) Janssen of Cedar Falls. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Mallory (Casey) Lunesmann, Hannah (Drew) Wolos, Zachary and Peter (Torie) Hoffman, Carter and Caeden Janssen, and three great grandchildren, Colin Wolos, Willem Lunesmann, and Norah Hoffman; a sister, Darlene Zeismer of Garner, and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Amos and Edna Gilbertson, sister Lorraine (Ray) Bakke, sister Shirley (Frank) Sheimo, sister-in-law Ardis (Richard) Sheimo, brother-in-law Dean (Katherine) Suby, Donald Suby, and son-in-law, David Hoffman. 

Jim’s final year saw many ups and downs, from the birth of his third great grandchild to health hurdles that required regular hospice care in-home. The nurses and caregivers that helped Jim enjoy his final year with his loved ones quickly became family, and we are forever grateful for their compassionate hearts and incredible spirits. As a thank you to them, in lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be given to Hospice at Unitypoint Allen Hospital. 

The memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, with visitation at 10:00, and the service to follow at 11:30 at the Ackley United Methodist Church.
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