James F. Kress
De Pere - James F. Kress, De Pere, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday morning, May 12, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. He was one month shy of his 90th birthday. The son of the late George and Marguerite (Christensen) Kress was born on June 11, 1929.
Jim was the oldest of three siblings, and graduated from Green Bay East High School. He went on to the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business and graduated in 1951. He was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity and the crew team, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Beta Gamma Sigma.
After graduation, Jim went to Officer Training School and served in the Navy during the Korean War, attaining the rank of Lieutenant. He returned to Green Bay and continued his career at Green Bay Packaging. Jim liked to joke he worked there since birth, when Marguerite would set his bassinette in a desk drawer.
In 1958, Jim assumed leadership of operations for Green Bay Packaging. He became President and Director in 1963, taking over the company founded by his father. He then became Chairman in 1995, and continued in that role until his death. He was proud that he never retired.
During his career, Jim was recognized with many awards, including the Rotary Club Free Enterprise Award, which his father George and son Will were honored with as well. Jim served on the board of the American Paper Institute and was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in 2005.
Jim served on many boards throughout his career, including Green Bay Packaging, M&I Bank, KI, Green Bay Packers, Shade Information Systems, Shopko, H.C. Prange and Bellin Hospital. He also served on the boards for the George F. Kress Foundation, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the American Foundation of Counseling Services, the Greater Green Bay YMCA, Lakeland College and St. Norbert College Board of Trustees. In addition, Doctor of Law Degrees were awarded to Jim and his wife Julie-Anne on May 17, 2009 by St. Norbert College. Jim also leant a helping hand to many other organizations throughout the community.
Jim was known for his sense of humor, quick wit and wisdom. He enjoyed sailing in Door County, skiing in Sun Valley, golfing at Oneida, Wednesday night tennis and spending time at the Downtown YMCA. He loved summers in Egg Harbor and winters in Sailfish Point, Florida.
Jim could be frequently found at Kroll's for lunch, The Rite Place for Taco Tuesday, dinner at Mackinaws or The Union Hotel, enjoying a Rum Runner, or sneaking Seroogy's dark chocolates before bed.
Throughout his battle with Parkinson's, Jim showed great courage and strength. He kept a positive attitude and regularly encouraged others who struggled with the disease.
Jim is survived by his wife, Julie-Anne; his children, Will, John, Meg (Barry Grunwald) and Virginia; grandchildren, Jack and George, Francesca and Ayla, Wesley (Abbey) and Elizabeth, Lucas, Charlie and Amber (Casey). He is further survived by his step-children, Michael, Allain, Jennifer, Mary and Susan; step-grandchildren, Nicolas, Julianna, Chris, Angeli, Ben, Ellie, Tom, Joey, Emily, Jared and Elise and ten step-great grandchildren.
He is further survived by his siblings, Marilyn Swanson and Don (Carol) Kress, and other members of his extended family.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, George and Marguerite; the mother of his children, Irene "Billie" Kress; brother-in-law, Bill Swanson; son-in-law Fred Casper; and other extended family members and dear friends.
Family and friends may visit from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Oneida Country Club, 207 Country Club Road, Green Bay. A short prayer service will conclude the evening at 7:30 p.m.
A Funeral Service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 24, 2019 at First United Church of Christ, 509 S. Webster Avenue, Green Bay. Full Military Honors will follow the Funeral Service. Entombment will take place at Allouez Catholic Mausoleum.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Greater Green Bay YMCA, Unity Hospice or any of the wonderful charities Jim held dear. Ryan Funeral Home, De Pere, is assisting the family. Please visit www.ryanfh.com
to send online condolences.
The family would like to extend special thanks to Jim's amazing caregivers, Shelly Gillis, Mike Funk, Doug McElrone, Andrew Breuer and Nate Hall, as well as his wonderful staff at Green Bay Packaging. They would also like to thank Unity Hospice, Treasure Coast Hospice in Florida and the many doctors, nurses, therapists, trainers and caregivers who helped Jim throughout the years.