James Counter, age 79, of Rhinelander, died May 30, 2019 at Country Terrace in Rhinelander. He was born Feb. 7, 1940, in Rhinelander, to Cletus and Jean (Leonard) Counter.
James graduated from the Rhinelander High School in 1958 and later from UW Stevens Point. After his schooling he was a photographer for the FBI for a short time. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy prior to the draft as an A-7 pilot. James flew attack missions from numerous carrier deployments during the Vietnam War and served many years at home and abroad thereafter, moving his family every two to four years during his career. It was during his service that he married the love of his life, Vivian Joy Oelrich, on Aug. 31,1970 in Beeville, Texas and they enjoyed almost 49 years of marriage.
After his active service in the Navy he became an instructor pilot and was also Commander of the Reserve Center in Green Bay, retiring in 1989 from that position. James and his family then moved back to the Rhinelander area where he then was employed as a corrections officer with the Oneida County Sheriff's Department. James was aptly nicknamed "Boots" for the highly polished black western boots he'd wear, which could be heard throughout the jailhouse corridors. James was also named an honorary Texas Ranger.
Though picky about his brand of ketchup and peanut butter, James was a family man and always went above and beyond at Christmas. He loved classic cars, a good burger and fries, old TV westerns, building models and was a talented craftsman and woodworker. He could always tell a good joke or story and was never short on one-liners. He will be greatly missed by all of his family and friends.
James is survived by his wife Vivian, his daughters Candy (Pat) Marquart and Kristine (Jamie) Roberts, his son James (Lori Carlson) Counter II, his grandchildren Jazmyn and George-Anna Marquart, Ashlyn and Alex Counter and Sophie and Isabeau Roberts, his great-grandchildren Wayne McCarty and Clyde Wuyts; nieces, nephews and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Michael.
Memorial services for James will be held on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 11 a.m., with visitation from 9:30 to 11 a.m., all at the Calvary Baptist Church. The Reverend Rod Ankrom will officiate. You may leave your private condolences for the Counter family at www.carlson.com. A memorial is being established in James' name and those gifts may be directed to his family. The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is serving the Counter family.
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