Zajicek, James "Jim'
James "Jim" Zajicek, age 52, died Thursday, July 3, 2014, at his home in Tampa, Florida. James was born October 31, 1961, in Chicago Heights, Illinois to Leonard W. and Celine Zajicek. In 1970, he moved with his family to Wausau, WI and graduated from Newman High School in 1980.
He joined the Franzen Bros circus in the summer of 1979 and returned immediately following graduation. There he perfected his juggling skills, performed Rolla-Bolla and although he had a fear of heights, learned to walk the high wire. He later joined the Culpepper-Merriweather Show, where he trained and performed with an elephant and was featured on National Geographic in March of 1987. He moved on to Hawthorn Farms, where he cared for, trained and performed with 4 elephants.
He began gathering things to begin his own old-fashioned side show. He started operating His "Big Circus Side Show" and was curator of this unusual show for almost 10 years. His career took him to all 48 continental states as well as Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Jim will be remembered for being kind and generous of heart, sharing his knowledge or money and had a very quick sense of humor and an infectious laugh. He sponsored his stepfather's K.C. Bowling team, the Big Circus Side Show. The team will continue in his memory.
Jim is survived by his mother and stepfather, Celine and Dan Zelinski; brothers, David Zajicek, Hartford, WI; and Daniel (Diane) Zajicek; nieces, Michelle (Nick) Paul, Renee, Nicole, and Elise all of Appleton, WI; stepsister, Shari (Craig) Engelhardt, and nieces, Claire and Atyssa of Brighton, CO. He is also survived by his long time special friend, Lori Ballard, his caretaker throughout his illness. He was preceded in death by his father, Leonard W. Zajicek.
A Memorial Mass was held August 13, in Appleton. Upon return of his showmen friends to Florida, another Memorial will be held. A monument will be placed in his honor at the Showmen's Rest Cemetery in Hugo, Okla.
Published in Wausau Daily Herald from Sep. 28 to Sep. 29, 2014.