James A. Baier, 79, of Fort Madison, passed away unexpectedly at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, at Cook Hospital in Cook, Minn.
He was born on Feb. 6, 1942, in Aurora, Ill., to George J. and Marie E. Dieter Baier, Jr. He married Linda Sue Zemborski on April 8, 1961 in Wheaton, Ill. She preceded him in death on Oct. 8, 2017.
Jim was first and foremost a loving husband to his wife of 56 years, Linda. Anyone who was around Jim and Linda knew that their marriage was special. They were true friends and partners in every aspect of their life together. He was the perfect gentleman, always opening doors for her and even filling her gas tank throughout their marriage. He loved spending time with his family above all things. He loved his children and grandchildren and spent lots of time with them, including great grandchildren. To them he was known as Poppy.
Jim Baier was a pillar of our community. He and Linda moved to Fort Madison in 1971 to purchase Thomas Motors, becoming the youngest Ford dealer in the nation at the age of 29. This new dealership was known as Jim Baier Ford and eventually became Jim Baier, Inc. as the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram franchises were added. In 1999 Jim and Linda welcomed and became partners with their son Jamie and his wife Danette. Jim Baier, Inc has grown to over 50 employees, adding the ABRA franchise and facility next to the dealership. The dealership is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Jim and Linda, along with their close friends and business partners Doyle and Bert Hoyer, entered the banking business by purchasing Iowa State Bank in the late 1970's. Later they sold Iowa State Bank and purchased Fort Madison Bank & Trust, which now has become Connection Bank serving the communities of Fort Madison, Burlington, Keokuk and Montrose. Jim really enjoyed the banking business, but most of all his relationship with his best friend Doyle Hoyer. Throughout their partnership, there was never even one argument.
Jim was an amazing chef and enjoyed cooking as a form of relaxation. He was an avid sportsman who enjoyed bird hunting, salt water and fresh water fishing. He also loved gardening and woodworking! He built cradles for his grandchildren and many other pieces of furniture for his family members. Jim loved boating his whole life with family and friends. He loved spending time in Florida and northern Minnesota, close to the water, where he could enjoy the wildlife. In his later years, he enjoyed feeding birds, deer and even black bears! Jim was a caring man, full of love, ambition, drive and integrity. He created a legacy that will be remembered and carried on by his family for generations to come.
Jim is survived by three children, Michael (Patricia) Baier of Elko New Market, Minn., Mindy (Ted) Goldie of Fort Madison, and Jamie (Danette) Baier of Fort Madison; 12 grandchildren; six great grandchildren; one brother, Jerry (Patricia) Baier of Austin, Texas; two sisters, Joan (Don) Schmitz of Cary, Ill. and Janet (Gary) Wynn of Cary, Ill.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife.
Friends may call after 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, with the family to receive friends 3-6 p.m. at King-Lynk Funeral Home & Crematory.
The funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 15, at Ss. Mary & Joseph Church, with Rev. Joseph Phung & Pastor Steve Huecker officiating. Burial will be held at Gethsemane Cemetery.
A memorial has been established in Jim's memory.
Online condolences to Jim's family may be left at the King-Lynk Funeral Home & Crematory website: www.kinglynk.com.
Published by Daily Democrat from Oct. 11 to Oct. 12, 2021.