Cover photo for E. William "Bill" James's Obituary
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E. William "Bill" James

May 27, 1937 — August 13, 2020

E. William "Bill" James

Everett William (Bill) James, age 83, of Garden City, died August 13, 2020, surrounded by his family, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester.

A drive thru visitation with the family will be held from 4-7 p.m., Friday, August 21, 2020 at Northview – North Mankato Mortuary, 2060 Commerce Drive, North Mankato. Due to Covid-19 attendees must remain in their vehicles and drive up to the designated area under the entrance canopy to visit with the family. Private family interment will be in Garden City Cemetery. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date to celebrate Bill’s life when circumstances permit safe gatherings. Condolences for the family can be left at

Bill was born on May 27, 1937, to Everett and LuElla (McMonagle) James at their farm home north of Garden City. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Vernon Center. Bill married Margaret Morris on August 23, 1962, at Grace United Methodist Church in Vernon Center, where he had been a member since 1962.

Bill attended Garden City High School, where he was active in sports. He was co-captain of the football team during his senior year that went a perfect 8-0. Bill was also an all-conference basketball guard during his senior year on a team that went 22-3 and defeated both St. James and Mankato in district play. Bill graduated from Garden City High School in 1955 and then went on to earn a Teaching Degree in Business and History from Mankato State College in 1959.

Bill started working at Wheeler Cabinet Shop of Vernon Center in 1957 where he made kitchen cabinets and built new homes. In 1968, Blue Earth County established a new position in the Register of Deeds Office (now County Recorder’s Office), and he was hired as Chief Deputy Register of Deeds. Bill was appointed Blue Earth County Recorder in 1986 and went on to win the 1987 election for Blue Earth County Recorder. He was the last elected County Recorder in Blue Earth County. Bill was one of the organizers of the Court House Union and was president when they went on a one-day strike. He spent more than 32 years in the Register of Deeds Office.

Bill was a member of the Minnesota County Recorder’s Association, and in 1997, he was selected as the Minnesota County Recorder of the Year. Bill was also a member of the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials, and Clerks (NACRC). Also, in 1997, he was selected as the National Public Official of the Year for the United States. He was only the second county recorder in Minnesota to earn this honor in the association’s 48-year existence.

Bill was a trustee of the Sir Henry Wellcome Memorial Trust in Garden City, where he most recently served as chairman to help oversee the gym and meeting area of the former Garden City School. He was fortunate to travel to London, England, to meet with officials of the global Wellcome Trust. Bill was also a 40-year member of the Mankato Lions Club. He was also a member of the Blue Earth County Fair Association and the Garden City Cemetery Association.

Bill was a lifelong sports fan and participant. He played centerfield for 10 years for the Garden City Independent Baseball Team, and his home run hitting abilities helped win a number of games. He helped coach little league baseball and youth basketball for many years. He and his son Billy traveled all over the state of Minnesota to baseball card shows looking for Kirby Puckett cards and memorabilia. Bill was also a lifelong supporter of the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings along with the Cleveland Indians in his younger days.

Bill and Margaret enjoyed traveling to Florida, Nashville, Tennessee (to visit Margaret’s sister Sharon and husband Larry), and also to many County Recorder national conventions across the United States.

Bill is survived by his wife, Margaret, of Garden City, his son, William T. (Billy) James, of Lake Crystal, grandson, Lukas Forseth, of Minneapolis, granddaughter, Lyssa Forseth, of Mankato, son-in-law, Richard Forseth, of Mankato, sister-in-law and husband, Sharon and Larry Lusky, of Brentwood, Tennessee, sister-in-law, Margaret Morris, of Winnemucca, Nevada, and many extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Everett and LuElla, stepfather Lyle Roberts, parents-in-law Thomas and Mae Morris, daughter Renee Marie (James) Forseth in 2012, and brother-in-law Elwyn (Butch) Morris.

Bill was a walking medical miracle the past 14 years. He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2006, which he miraculously overcame. He had a watchman device placed in his heart in 2016, and he also had a tube placed in his brain in 2018 to control hydrocephalic fluid. Unfortunately cancer once again returned in 2020.

Bill thoroughly enjoyed the many hours he spent on his John Deere lawnmower and was proud of his immaculately kept yard.

Memorials may be made in Bill’s name to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, Rochester, MN, the Grace United Methodist Church, Vernon Center, MN, or the donor’s choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of E. William "Bill" James, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Friday, August 21, 2020

4:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)

Northview - North Mankato Mortuary

2060 Commerce Dr, North Mankato, MN 56003

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