DRAKESVILLE — James Byron Rysdam, 81, of Drakesville, died April 14, 2014, at the Hospice House in Ottumwa with family at his bedside.
He was born March 6, 1933, near Floris to Frank A. and Edith Fetrow Rysdam. He married his high school sweetheart, Virginia Faye Grosvenor, Sept. 21, 1952, at the Savannah Christian Church with Quentin Johnson officiating. He worked for Morrell’s, Hormel and then Excel Meat Packing Plant, retiring in 1998. James also farmed his entire life and loved his cows, calves and working in the fields. He took great pride in his yard and garden. Every year he planted a large enough garden to provide for his children with extras going to extended family, neighbors and friends. James and Virginia operated the Rysdam Pumpkin Patch for 24 years. They hosted several kids’ tours and gave a pumpkin to each child that toured the patch. The pumpkin patch legacy has been passed on to their son, Mark.
James fed the birds every day and enjoyed sitting in his recliner and watching them. He made sure to watch the news every day and make a trip to Quik Time to have coffee with friends and hear the latest news around Drakesville. He was a trustee for the Drakesville Township and served on the Drakesville Cemetery Board as well as volunteering for many community activities including the Drakesville Reunion.
He loved being with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife; seven children, Vicky (Rick) Piper of Bloomfield, Mike (Diana) Rysdam of Drakesville, Marla (Juan) Caceres of Corpus Christi, Texas, Mark (Lois) Rysdam of Drakesville, Bonny Frauenholtz of Glendale, Ariz., David (Karen) Rysdam of Phoenix, Ariz., Lori (Bob) Reynolds of Urbandale; 14 grandchildren, Natalie Culp, Eric Piper, Janice (Mitch) Jones, Elizabeth Evans, Sandra (Kelly) Foster, Kevin Caceres, Melehia Frauenholtz, Lindsey Frauenholtz, Andrew Rysdam, Leigh Rysdam, Jill (Nick) Simmons, Jimmy Reynolds, Rachael Casey, Nathan Sayre; 14 great-grandchildren, Levi, Spencer and Gunnar Boas, Cohen and Claire Piper, Rhys and Eli Jones, Sawyer and Kherington Foster, Alexis Evans, Vanessa, Kayla and Tucker Simmons, Emilee Sayre; three brothers, Darrell (Linda) Rysdam of Bloomfield, Don (Goldie) Rysdam of Drakesville, Rex (Becky) Rysdam of Bloomfield; two sisters, Ruth Gladson of Floris, Carolyn (Ron) Golick of Hastings, Neb.; and many nieces and nephews.