Jim (James Francis Patrick) Haight of Beloit WI passed away at his winter home in San Diego on Wednesday April 20, surrounded by his family. Born in Portage, WI, his family moved to Baraboo, where he grew up in the midst of the depression. He started working at a young age, buying copies of the Milwaukee Sentinal for 2 cents and reselling them at Badger Ordinance Works for 5 cents, during World War II. He saved enough money to pay his way through Lawrence College, where he met his wife of almost 70 years, Joyce Herreid.
He was drafted into the army in 1952, during the Korean War. He graduated from Officer's Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA, and served as a 1st Lt. in the Medical Service Corp at Fort Lewis, Washington. After an honorable discharge in 1955, he moved back to Beloit, where he began his 65 year career with New York Life Insurance Company in 1956. He earned many "Man of the Year" awards over the years, became a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Life Member of the Million Dollar Round Table.
During his many years in Beloit he served as President of the Beloit Rotary Club, where he was a member for over 55 years, as well as Beloit Jaycees, Beloit Toastmasters, and the Beloit Country Club, where he was an avid golfer and tennis player. He was a devoted member of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church for over 60 years. He was chairman of the Red Cross Blood Drive for many years, and was the original organizer for the "Student High School Blood Drive" competitions that are still in use today. He was also a long time member (since 1955!) of the YMCA and served on their Board of Directors for many years.
He and Joyce, are Life Masters in Duplicate Bridge, and have enjoyed that hobby for almost 70 years, in Beloit, Janesville, San Diego, and elsewhere.
In 1986 they bought a condo in San Diego, near their three children, and spent winters in Southern California, where he played "Senior Softball" for 20 years. Throughout his life, he enjoyed travelling, and took his family on numerous trips and cruises in Europe and the US, creating memories treasured by his family.
Jim was predeceased by his parents, his sister Jane, and his grandson Ryan Haight. He is survived by his wife, Joyce, and his three children, Bruce (Liz) Haight, Michael (Jeannie) Haight and Marcia (Tom) Peterson. He had 5 grandchildren, Natalie (Matt) Murphy, Jeremy Haight, Matthew (Caroline) Peterson, Timothy (Kelly) Peterson, and Jenna Peterson. He had seven great grandchildren: Keira, Nolan, Joel, Ian, Caleb, Abby, and Teddy.
Special thanks to his neighbors, Roger and Kay Talley, whose help has allowed them to live independently for years, and master gardener Frank Hughes, who provided endless hours of enjoyment by being the architect of their large flower garden. Thanks especially to the many lifelong friends in Beloit, who made his life rich in entertainment and companionship. Those friends were greatly missed during his winters in California. His wish was to thank them once more for making his life a joy!