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James ‘Jim’ Willoughby

April 26,1955-July 8, 2014

July 10, 2014
Minot Daily News

James "Jim" Willoughby, 59, Garrison, formerly of Minot and Mandan, died Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at his beloved lake cabin on Douglas Bay, west of Garrison, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Jim was born April 26, 1955, in Minot, to Thomas and Bettye (Gandy) Willoughby. He was raised and educated in Minot, graduating from Minot High School. He then received an associate of science degree from North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton. Jim married Shirley Dietrich in Minot and two children were born to this union. On July 7, 2007, Jim married Donna Grosz. The wedding was held at their lake cabin, putting an exclamation point on his most beloved place!

Jim was a very hard worker from an early age. When he was 14 he worked as a dishwasher/cook at the Sandy's Steak and Pancake House. Following college, Jim began his long career with Ford dealerships as a certified master technician and parts and service director. His career started at Westlie Ford, Minot, before moving to Norby-Rath, Mandan, where he spent 11 years. He then worked for Eide Ford, Bismarck, and spent 15 years at Bill Barth Ford, Mandan, and had returned to Westlie's at the time of his passing. Jim was proud to have received the National VOTEC Award for his dedicated service to the automotive industry.

It can be said that Jim was a "yes" man. He had served on automotive advisory boards at Bismarck State College and Bismarck High School for the past 20 years. He also served on the advisory board for the N.D. State Penitentiary. Seeming to not have enough to do, Jim also served as Jaycee president and state chairman, held several offices for the Lion's Club International, and was a 32 degree Master Mason for the Freemasons Bismarck Lodge #5. In his spare time, he was a member of the Shriners, Elks Lodge and played on numerous pool teams.

Jim actually slowed down some after realizing how much he loved his time at the lake. He had a great love for family and all the special friends he made throughout his life. He loved to be on the water or just spend time on his deck watching his beloved dogs and cats.

Jim is survived by: the love of his life for seven years, Donna, of Garrison; his son, Nicholas Willoughby, his daughter, Sheena (Craig) Russell, and grandson, Sam Russell, all of Mandan; his stepsons, Brock and Jasper Grosz; stepgranddaughter, Trinity, of Lincoln; brother, Jerry (Susan) Willoughby, Melbourne, Fla.; sister, Janet (Dale) Frost, Mandan; nephews, Justin Bohl (fiancee, Anastasia), Milwaukee, Wis., Tyler (Jenny) Bohl and great-niece, Madison Bohl, all of Huntington Beach, Calif.

He was preceded in death by: his parents, Thomas and Bettye Willoughby; and several aunts and uncles.

In lieu of flowers, memorial and condolences may be sent to 4935 Ulrich Road Garrison, ND 58540.

The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Judy from hospice and all friends that have made this difficult time more bearable.

A private memorial service will be held at Douglas Bay, Garrison.

The celebration of Jim's life will be held: Friday, July 11, from 2 to 4 p.m., at 4946 Urlich Road Douglas Bay, Garrison.

To sign the online register go to (

(Thompson Funeral Home, Garrison)



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