To begin with the ending, Jim Crackel (Alan James Crackel) died Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at the age of 85.
Jim was born in Rainy River in 1934 to James and Alice Crackel.
He graduated from the University of North Dakota, married Gail in 1960, became an educator (teacher and principal), had five children, and eight grandkids.
He earned two degrees at the University of North Dakota, one of which was in the field of geology. He continued his post-secondary education at several universities throughout his career.
Jim was a prolific volunteer. Along with being a long-time organizer of the Rainy River Open golf tournaments, he was also a member of the first volunteer ambulance service in Rainy River in the 1960s, which he served on until 1998.
He used to tell about some patients being uneasy with being picked up in their first ambulance, which was a hearse on loan from Bill Lettner's funeral home.
He started firefighting as early as the 1940s, and when Rainy River's volunteer fire department was formed in the 1960s, he was a member until he retired in 1994.
He had said that the Rainy River Fire Department had not lost a foundation during his time as a member.
Rainy River was Jim's favourite place in the world, and never strayed too long or too far.
Throughout his life he enjoyed everything about the Rainy River area—hunting, gardening, curling, boating, fishing (partial to the ice kind), swimming with his kids, good people, and golf.
His connection to the river was reverent. Whether he was watching from his chair in the living room, or from a lawn chair on the front lawn during “four o'clock time” with a bourbon and some company, the Rainy River was absolute serenity.
Jim was a passionate golfer. He taught all his children to golf and ensured that they all had access to the game. Many local golfers sought Jim's assessment of their swing.
He also custom-made several sets of clubs for himself, family, and friends.
Obedient, compliant, and differential. Jim Crackel was none of these. His reaction to any person or institution that perceived themselves to have authority was Pavlovian.
Jim's battles with everything mechanical were epic and hilarious.
One summer, he purchased a used Chris-Craft boat which he spent days restoring. When the boat would not start, he paddled it to the middle of the river, dropped a stone through the bottom, and swam for shore.
Dad's greatest strengths were his reliability, and the mythical reserve of strength he was able to draw from in adversity.
To your family and friends, you're still in our lives, but in a different way—and you'll be missed. So, Dad, we'll say to you what you would always say to us after a visit: “Write if you get work and hang by your thumbs.”
Jim is survived by his wife, Gail; his children, Glenn, Guy, Gregg (Elana), Lynn (his “Peach”), and Gavin (Leah); and his grandchildren, Hayden, Riley, Nolan, Shayna, Ian, Gus, Greyson, and Dexter.
As per Jim's request, there will be no funeral service.
Arrangements entrusted to Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.