James “Jim” P. Rixen, 64, of Waukon, Iowa, died Dec. 3, 2018, at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon. Memorial services were held Dec. 7, 2018, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Waukon with Fr. Mark Osterhaus officiating. Burial was at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Waukon. Memorial contributions may be made to Veterans Memorial Hospital.
James “Jim” Pagel Rixen was born on Jan. 24, 1954, to Walter “Red” and Helen (Pagel) Rixen in Waukon, Iowa. Jim graduated from Grinnell High School in 1972 and attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, for two years before moving on to the Illinois College of Optometry in 1974. Jim married Debra “Debbie” Cetin on Aug. 20, 1977, and Jim and Debbie lived in Chicago, while Jim finished his doctor of optometry degree. After earning his degree, Jim and Debbie moved to Waukon where he joined the optometry practice of Dr. Frank Norden. After Dr. Norden’s retirement, Jim continued to run the optometry practice until joining Gundersen Clinic; he worked with Gundersen until retiring in 2017. He took great pride in taking care of his patients’ eyesight and equally enjoyed the opportunity it provided him to visit with people throughout the community.
Jim was active in many Waukon organizations including Kiwanis, the Waukon Chamber of Commerce, Music Boosters, and the Lion’s Club. He loved going to his kids’ school activities, spending time with his grandchildren, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs and Bears. Jim stayed very active throughout his life including participating in wrestling, football, and track during his school days, and running, biking, canoeing, and hiking as an adult. In the winter, Jim could often be found cross-country skiing at the Waukon Golf Course and competing in the Birkebeiner cross-country ski race in Hayward, Wis. Jim also enjoyed traveling with his family to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and more recent trips to Prague, Rome, Copenhagen, and Germany.
Jim is survived by his wife Debbie; son Jonathan (Jenny) Rixen and their children: Cael, Kiera, and Isla Rixen; son Jordan (Erin) Rixen and their children: Flynn, Fletcher, and Elin Rixen; and daughter Molly (Jarod) Haberichter and their children: Kayden and Korine Haberichter. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Honorary pallbearers were Jim’s eight grandchildren.