14 Oct James “Jim” Vetter
James Michael Vetter, 58, died unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep at home on October 13, 2023. Known as “Jim” by family, friends and coworkers, his servant heart touched many throughout his life.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, October 20, 2023, at the Church of St. Anne, Bismarck, ND. Burial will follow at the St. Philip Neri Catholic Cemetery, Napoleon, ND.
Visitation will be held Thursday, October 19, 2023, from 6:00 – 7:00 PM at Church of St. Anne, with a Rosary beginning at 7:00 PM followed by a Vigil Service and a time of sharing memories. Visitation will continue at the church one hour prior to the service on Friday.
Jim was born in Wishek, ND on 29 December 1964 to Michael Jr. and Diane (Bitz) Vetter. He spent his formative years on the family farm in Napoleon milking cows, making and hauling square bales, and fixing a lot of fence. He graduated from Napoleon High School in 1983. He attended and graduated from NDSU in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Business. In 2001 Jim earned a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration and Management from Central Michigan University.
Hardworking and ambitious, Jim worked his way through college helping on the farm and working road construction, but he discovered his true calling when he worked as a youth counselor at Camp Grassick. Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch discovered Jim in 1988 and hired him as a live-in house parent for at-risk youth at their Minot facility. Jim served The Ranch in several different capacities during the last 35 years. He worked his way up to Vice President of Treatment Services and Government Relations, a position he held until his death. In 2022, Jim received the prestigious Walt Odegaard Leadership Award, presented by the North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations (NDANO).
Jim was involved with many community boards and committees including the ND Association of Residential Child Care Facilities, the Board of Directors of Missouri Valley Coalition for Homeless People (MVCHP), the ND Dual-Status Youth Initiative Committee, the Bismarck State College Human Services Advisory Committee, and the ND Association of Nonprofit Organization’s Public Policy Committee. He was also appointed by Governor Doug Burgum to serve on the Governor’s Prevention Advisory Council on Drugs and Alcohol (GPAC).
While working at the Ranch, Jim met his match in his co-worker, Sara Eaton. They were married on September 27, 1997 in Minot and eventually made their home in Bismarck. Jim and Sara added two beautiful daughters to their family, Jessie and Sammie.
Jim had many interests and hobbies outside of work. You could often find him working on his immaculate yard, tinkering with his antique 2-cylinder John Deere tractors, riding his Kawasaki dirt bike or Harley Softail, hunting goose, duck or deer, or camping with his extended family. He also thoroughly enjoyed making people laugh telling his corny “dad” jokes.
Grateful to have shared Jim’s life are his wife of 26 years, Sara and daughters Jessie (18) and Sammie (15). Jim will also be deeply missed by his mother Diane Vetter; sister Lenae (Myron) Schneider; brother Gary (Rose); sister Lynnette; brother-in-law Brady; and mother-in-law Carol Eaton as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. He was preceded in death by his father; sister Leicha (Jim) Schmidt; father-in-law Larry Eaton; both sets of grandparents; and several aunts and uncles.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Jim’s name to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.