"The hardest working person I've ever known. ... No flash, just dirt in the fingernails, dirt on his pants, and a strong back. ... I never told him what kind of tires I wanted on my truck; what he told me was all I needed to know because his expertise in the business was surely more than I'll ever know. ... Life will go on at J & L Tire, but no one will ever replace Jim. ... He had a heart of gold. ..."
In a statement to the Daily Times, the family said those comments were made by several individuals, who are not identified, following the death of Jim Wuestenberg, 58, of Reeseville, Sunday at Aurora Summit Hospital.
He was a partner in J & L Tire Inc.
The story of J & L Tire Inc. is one of two brothers, Jim and Lyle. They started from humble beginnings, working at the Red Eagle Truckstop in Johnson Creek. When the owners (Al and Del Hinze) retired, they bought out the tire portion of the business in 1990 and partnered with Goodyear as an independent affiliate. They built J & L into a large, successful operation, which grew to employ 37 people. It became a respected company with a reputation for giving back to the community.
By 1993, Jim led the development of the Truck and Trailer Tire Division, which he managed and expanded. Under Jim's leadership, it became well known for quality and timely service by carriers and businesses in Wisconsin.
Jim's impact on the community will be felt for a long time. As part of a business partnership, he was involved with a land donation gift for the building of Rainbow Hospice Care in Johnson Creek. He and his brother sponsored the dedication of Wuestenberg Baseball Field in honor of their parents in 2017 at Johnson Creek High School. Further community service is reflected through numerous recognition awards and honors from organizations such as the Jefferson County Sheriff's Association, Johnson Creek Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson County Emergency Communications, the American Legion and various area youth sports associations.
Although Jim is known for the long, hard hours he put in over 42 years, he found time to pursue his favorite pastimes, which included fishing and antiquing. Jim was an avid Packers fan and enjoyed weekend trips to Las Vegas, often with his son, to attend the Ultimate Fighting Championship matches, play slots and appreciate other highlights of the city.
Jim will be missed and remembered by many. Both locations of J & L Tire in Watertown and Johnson Creek will be closed on Friday to honor his memory.
A private family funeral service will be held. Burial will be in the Lowell Lutheran Cemetery at a later date. A celebration of life will also be held at a later date. Memorials would be appreciated to his son Justin to be used to memorialize his father and can be sent to J & L Tire, P.O. Box 497, Johnson Creek, 53038.
Hafemeister Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Watertown is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at www.hafemeisterfh.com