James “Jim” Edwin Lange, son of Edwin and Verna (Slager) Lange, was born on August 24, 1939, in Northrop, MN. He was baptized on September 5, 1939, at St. James Lutheran Church in Northrop and confirmed his faith also at St. James Lutheran Church on March 29, 1953. Jim attended St. James Lutheran Parochial School for 8 grades and Truman High School in Truman, MN, graduating on May 30, 1957. Jim furthered his education at Mankato State University in Mankato, MN, graduating on June 2, 1961, with a degree in education.
Jim married his college sweetheart, Janice Okland, on August 19, 1961, and they moved to Chatfield, MN where he taught mathematics and coached baseball for 3 years. In the summers, Jim worked for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and in 1964, he began full-time employment with them. His career took the couple to Windom, MN, where he worked as the manager of the Cottonwood County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) office, and while in Windom, Jeff came into their lives through adoption in 1971 to make them a family. An opening in the MN State ASCS took them to Cottage Grove, MN and in 1975, the adoption of Jon completed the family. Jim moved his growing family to Litchfield in 1982 to work as the West Central Minnesota District Director of the ASCS from which he retired in 1996. Not one to sit around, Jim prepared tax returns for H&R Block for several years and worked also as an agricultural insurance adjuster for various insurance companies. Jim and Jan shared 52 years of married life until Jan’s death in 2013. While attending a church synod convention, Jim met Janet Samson and they married on May 14, 2016. Jim and Janet enjoyed retirement traveling locally and worldwide together.
Baseball was a large part of Jim’s life. He was fortunate to play 4 years for Truman High School, 4 years for Mankato State University, and many years for a variety of town teams until he was 32 years old, coaching the teams part of the time. Baseball brought him many lifetime friends. Jim said, “Life on earth is like baseball when we all strike out some days. But baseball is also like heaven, as you will hit a homerun each time at bat with Jesus as the umpire."
Jim was a man of strong faith who knew his Lord and Savior and was ready to go when Jesus came for him. Jim is survived by his wife, Janet, of Litchfield; his 2 sons, Jeff (Kristin) Lange of Waconia and grandchildren, Taylor, Jackson, Sami and Ryan; Jon (Kelli) Lange of Coon Rapids and grandchildren, Joel, Jaci and Jaden and Zoe, Aeris and Zander Rice. He is also survived by children and grandchildren by marriage, Wade (Janette) Samson of Grand Rapids and their daughters, Alex and Amber (Andy) Kinzer; Lori (Mark) Rogers of Elko and their children, Mandy (Cory) Aksteter, Johnny and Michael; Kalin (Nancy) Samson of Dassel and their children, Tommy, Alyssa and Cece. He is also survived by his brother, Reverend Roger (Ginny) Lange of Fergus Falls; sister-in-law, Rita Lange of Brooklyn Park; brother-in-law Tom Taragos of Plymouth and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Jim is preceded in death by his wife, Janice; parents, Edwin and Verna Lange; brother, Eugene Lange; and sister-in-law, Sharon Taragos.
God bless Jim’s memory.