James “Jim” Paul Rericha, 76, of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin passed away on Saturday, September 3, 2022, of advanced Parkinson’s Disease at the Pete and Jelaine Horton Center Skilled Nursing Facility at Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay with family and friends at his side.
He was born September 8, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Frank Anton Rericha and Emily (Wrtjak) Rericha. Jim attended Downers Grove High School where he sang in the madrigal choir and pursued his passion for art. Upon high school graduation in 1963, he studied art education at Northern Illinois University. There, he met Kathleen “Kate” Wilkin Murphy, a fellow art student. Jim graduated from NIU with a Bachelor of Science degree in art education. Shortly after graduation he and Kate were married at The Wayside Chapel in Palos Park, Illinois.
The couple moved to Door County where Jim’s first teaching position was as a K-12 art teacher for Gibraltar Area School District in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. He taught art at the numerous rural elementary schoolhouses throughout Door County, as well as at Gibraltar High School, from 1967 until 1969. Jim and Kate later moved to Berlin, Wisconsin where he was a high school art teacher and drama director from 1969 until 1984. During that time, he and Kate grew their family with the addition of a daughter, Alexis, and son, Peter.
Their family moved back to Door County and resided on Peninsula Players Road in Fish Creek. Jim spent several years caring for their children at home, until he began teaching art at Sevastopol School District in 1987, where he spent the majority of his teaching career. In addition to his role as an art educator, Jim directed theater productions at Sevastopol, bringing together school community members of all ages. His curated collection of student artwork – the Legacy Collection – remains on display at the school.
Jim, Kate, and their children were members of Hope United Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay where Jim sang in the choir.
Aside from sharing his passion for art and theater at school, he taught children’s classes at the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek. Jim liked giving new life to antiques and fostering lasting friendships with the antique dealers he worked with over the years. Those who knew Jim also knew his love for sweets. Cookies were among his favorites.
He will be deeply missed by his wife, Kate, with whom he shared more than 55 years of marriage; daughter and son, Alexis (Michael) Nass of Verona, Wisconsin and Peter (Kelda) Rericha of Charlotte, North Carolina; five grandchildren, Emerson and Bennett Nass and Jack, Gus, and Edward Rericha; along with other relatives and many dear friends. He will also be missed by the students and teachers whose lives he touched during nearly 40 years as an educator.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Brian (Mary) Rericha; brother-in-law, Michael (Anne) Murphy; and other relatives.
Jim’s life will be honored with a memorial service held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 10, 2022 at Hope United Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay with Chaplain John Hauser, of Door County Medical Center, officiating. Visitation for family and friends will be held at the church on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service.
The memorial service will be recorded (non-live) and eventually uploaded to the “Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC” Facebook page (www.facebook.com/HuehnsFuneralHome) for future viewing.
Memorials may be made in Jim’s name to Rawhide Youth Services or Sevastopol School District’s art and theatre departments.
“Our family would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Tomasz Michalski at Door County Medical Center, as well as the skilled nursing facility staff for the wonderful, compassionate care given to Jim.”
Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC in Sturgeon Bay are assisting the Rericha family. Expression of sympathy, memories, and photos of James may be shared with his family through his tribute at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com.