Cover photo for James E. Phegley's Obituary
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James E. Phegley

December 22, 1943 — February 18, 2024

James E. Phegley

     James Everett Phegley was born December 22nd, 1943 to Timothy and Hazel Phegley. He was raised on their family farm, on Cedar Lake, in Aitkin Minnesota. There,  with his sisters Darlene and Virginia. He cared for their livestock and land. He learned the value of hard work and connection to Nature.

   Jim started kindergarten at only 4 years old. He walked through the Northern woods with his dog Pooch, often hearing the distant sound of wolves. He attended Elementary School in a one-room schoolhouse in the country. He then attended Aitkin High School in town. He left home at 14 and worked at a little diner in town.  There he earned enough money to proudly gift his parents with a new Ford. He also spent many nights with friends at the 40s Club.  After High School he was a free spirit. He traveled across the country to the west coast. He worked  several different jobs becoming a man of many skills.

    Jim eventually headed back home to Minnesota where he met the love of his life,  Leona (Suzie) Forsberg, also known as Thumbelina. He and his best friend had seen a flyer of a go-go dancer with beautiful eyes performing at a local bar. There they met for the first time and started their friendship. On their first date Suzie took him to Catholic Mass. He soon followed her home to Omaha, Nebraska where he worked in her family's restaurant, the Roam Inn. There he met Suzie's brother, Tony. They quickly became his best friends.

    Jim and Suzie spent their time with their nieces and nephew Lori, Tami, Jacque and Tony. They built a life together, were married, and had two daughters. Maureen and Kathleen. He began working at Northwestern Bell and made many lifelong friends. He lost his wife in 1980. On his own he raised his two daughters ages two and three, with love, laughter, and strength.  He then helped raise his grandchildren Josie, Julie, Tony, Bella, Joey, Vinny and Sophia with the same love, laughter, and strength.

    Jim spent his life giving to others, whether he was cooking for family and friends, quietly helping people financially, or sharing in people's good times and times of grief. It took forever to get out of a grocery store with him because everybody seemed to know him and want to talk to him.

    Jim's love of music was evident by the loud music blaring whenever you went to his home. He had a song for all occasions covering decades and genres. When you think of him, you think of good food, good music, and good times, but mostly of love. He made everyone he met feel loved and important. He passed away peacefully listening to the music he loved on Sunday February 18th 2024. He was in the arms of his daughters and with all of his grandchildren placing their hands on him.

We love you more than peanut butter and James Bond movies daddy.

We invite everyone to please share your memories of him below.

    Preceded by wife Leona "Suzie" Phegley, parents Tim and Hazel Phegley, sister Darlene Phegley, bother-in-law and sister-in-law Tony and Wilma Forsberg. Survived by daughters Maureen (Jeremy) Wren and Kathleen Burns (Joseph Neumeister), grandchildren Josette and Julianna Wren, Anthony, Isabella, Joseph and Vincent Burns, Sophia Neumeister, sister Virginia West, beloved nieces and nephews Lori, Jacque, Tony and Tammi, step-daughter Rashel, and many other loving family members and friends. 

Visitation Friday 5-6 p.m. with Rosary at 6 p.m. at Roeder Mortuary, 2727, N 108th St, Omaha, NE.

Funeral Mass 11 a.m. Saturday (2/24/2024) at St. James Catholic Church, 4710 N 90th St, Omaha, NE.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James E. Phegley, please visit our flower store.


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