James August Kaufer

James August Kaufer, 90, Minot, and formerly of Tioga, died Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in a Tioga hospital.

James Kaufer was born Sept. 16, 1923, in Kenmare, to August and Thelma Kaufer. He attended school and graduated from Noonan High School in 1941.

Jim was active in basketball, football, and Boy Scouts of America, eventually earning the Eagle Scout award.

Jim began his employment with the Great Northern Railway on April 4, 1942, as an agent-telegrapher. While an agent at Selz, he decided to enter the Navy on March 30, 1944. He attended boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Station, then Radio Technician School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then Submarine School in New London, Conn. After additional radar, radio, and sonar training, he was transferred to Submarine Division 101 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With his excellent typing and telegraphy skills from the railroad, his roles in the Navy included Pacific Fleet Communications and Submarine radioman; also submarine repair and replenishment when subs would return to port.

Jim earned his honorable discharge from the Navy Feb. 5, 1946, and resumed his railroad career at Aylmer as agent. While in Aylmer, Jim met Jeanne B. Huff who also was a Great Northern Railway telegrapher. They were married Jan. 1, 1948, in Minot. Jim also served as commander of the Oswold-Wohl Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #6831 in Anamoose.

From 1950 to 1957, Jim worked as a train dispatcher for the Great Northern Railway in Minot. In 1960, Jim moved the family to Powers Lake while assuming the agent duties there; also serving as commander of the American Legion Post.

In 1966, he was named agent at Tioga and White Earth. Additional agent duties eventually included Ray and Epping. He was member and president of the Tioga School Board for six years and assisted with the First Lutheran Luther League.

In 1977, Jim again transferred to Minot (Burlington Northern Railroad) to work in the Gavin Yard Central Agency and Material Department. He retired Sept. 30, 1983.

Jim was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and its Saints Alive retiree group in Minot, the Order of Railroad Telegraphers Club, the Minot Railroad Museum, American Legion Post #26, was a Trinity Hospital volunteer, was an amateur radio operator (WFOM), and was a member of the World War II Last Man’s Club.

In 1994, Jim and Jeanne purchased a house in Mesa, Ariz., and enjoyed the warm Arizona winters for 13 years.

In September 2010, Jim was able to participate in the Roughrider Honor Flight to the WW II Memorial in Washington, D.C. He was the only North Dakota submariner to ever attend this wonderful and emotional trip. Veterans and non-veterans would applaud the group as they approached the memorial, thanking them for their service to our country.

Jim’s loving family includes: children, Deborah (Craig) Eraas, of Minot, Gail (Timothy) Joyce, of Tioga, Steven (Lynette) Kaufer, of Phoenix, Ariz.; grandchildren, Nathan Eraas, of Minot, Natalie (Casey) Skovran, of Bismarck, and Matthew Eraas, of Hebron, Jennifer (Gerard) Ramberg, of Snowflake, Ariz., Patrick, Ryan, and Andrew Joyce, of Tioga, Jared Kaufer, of Flagstaff, Ariz., Jonathan Kaufer, of Phoenix; great-grandchildren, Olivia and James Ramberg, of Snowflake, Ariz.; sister, Delores (Norris) Fagerland, of Devils Lake; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Jeanne; sister, Alice (Walter) Enget; and grandson, Jamie Kane.

Funeral service: Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, at 3 p.m., in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Minot.

Interment: Sunset Memorial Gardens, Minot.

Visitation: Today, Dec. 21, from noon to 5 p.m., in Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot.

Memorials: Are preferred to the Roughrider Honor Flight.

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