Passing of James Liethen

James Liethen

The Friends of the Wildlife Sanctuary (FOWLS) said goodbye to a dear and loyal friend in late December of 2018. James Liethen was a proud Board Member of the Friends of the Wildlife Sanctuary for decades. He was a dedicated patron who helped to guide and bring forth the Wildlife Sanctuary as we know it today.

James Liethen lived a life of service. In 1945, James served his country when he joined the US Navy. After leaving the Navy with an Honorable Discharge, Jim graduated from Marquette University and started working for the family business (Liethen Feeds Corporation) in Appleton.

Early in his career, Jim demonstrated his sense of community and gave freely of his time and talents. His positive energy, quick wit, and gift for storytelling immediately put people at ease, a characteristic each of Jim’s children has inherited from their father.

Jim is lovingly remembered for his contributions in many leadership roles throughout the community. While Jim served in numerous positions on many boards and organizations, he also gave of his time assisting low-income families with their income tax returns. Each of these organizations was better for Jim’s contributions.

Jim’s commitment to the Wildlife Sanctuary (FOWLS) was demonstrated through his many years of service on the Board of the Friends of the Wildlife Sanctuary. Jim played a crucial role in raising private funds for the many significant improvements to the Wildlife Sanctuary, such as, the Nature Center, Woodland Building, Raptor Trail, White-tailed Deer exhibit, and the list goes on. Jim and his lovely and gracious wife, Marty, were regular attendees at FOWLS gatherings. Jim’s positive nature and easy conversation made him a delight and brightened every occasion. One of my favorite memories of Jim was one of his last visits to the Wildlife Sanctuary, a reception at the Director’s residence. Jim was seated, surrounded by his friends and colleagues laughing and sharing stories with Jim’s big smile welcoming you to the group.

Both Jim and Marty have been important advocates for the Wildlife Sanctuary’s programs and its growth. We are grateful to Marty Liethen and their children for sharing Jim with us. Jim is a prime example of how to live a life of service in one’s community. When next you visit the Wildlife Sanctuary as you enjoy the exhibits, habitats, trails, stroll the waterfalls, and feed the many ducks and geese that call the sanctuary home, think of Jim, he is a part of everything around us, it is his gift to us!

I believe this quote by H. Jackson Brown Jr. describes Jim Liethen well.

“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.”
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Thank you, Jim,
Mike Reed