Hafemeister Funeral Home And Cremation Service
James “Jimmy” Hartwig
May 20, 1920 - January 30, 2018 (Age 97)
Johnson Creek, WI
Service: February 5, 2018
James “Jimmy” Hartwig
James “Jimmy” Hartwig, formerly of Johnson Creek, passed away peacefully on January 30, 2018 at Alden Estates of Jefferson, where he had resided for the past five years. Jim was born on May 20, 1920, in the family homestead, to Fred and Alma (Draeger) Hartwig. He attended High Lawn Grade School, Johnson Creek Grade School and High School.
After he left high school in 1937, he joined a traveling band. He later toured the area and the state with various other bands. It was in the midst of the depression, but he often played six nights a week.
He eventually formed his own band in 1947. It soon became one of the most popular bands in southern Wisconsin. The band’s size grew over the years, from a 7-piece band at the beginning, to the 12-piece band it is now. The band made several recordings, and during the early ‘50s, hosted its own radio show.
Originally, the band played mostly “old-time” music for wedding and organization dances. However, it also played for school proms and winter formals. When the Gobbler Supper Club opened in Johnson creek in 1970, it kicked off a different era for the Jimmy Hartwig Band. It became the house band for the new regional hot spot. At that point, the band incorporated a more “Big-Band” style, while still retaining some of the old-time favorites. For a number of years, it played at the Gobbler almost every weekend.
The band played its last regular job in August of 1985. However, the band still plays for a select few special events under the direction of Wayne Hartwig. Jimmy played his last job with the band in September of 2003. Jimmy was a long-time member of American Federation of Musicians and an officer of the Watertown Musicians Association, Local #469. He was the 2017 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame.
In addition to musical activities, he was also very involved in the community and in local politics.
He was a member of the Johnson Creek School Board for several years, and served as a representative on the CESA 2 Board. He served on the Village Board for 9 years. While on the Board, he served as chairman of the Protection and Welfare Committee, on the Board of Review, and on the Plan Commission. He served on the Jefferson County Board for 10 years. He was chairman of the Law Committee, as well as on the Budget Committee, and the Economoic Development Committee. He was one of the founders of the Johnson Creek Historical Society.
Jim worked for Schweiger Industries in Jefferson for 42 years. Originally the Union Upholstering Company, he started there in 1941, and retired in 1983. He was the foreman of the upholstering department for the last 20 years of his employment there.
On Valentine’s Day 1942, Jim was united in marriage with Vera Schmidt at St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church of Milford. After almost 74 years of marriage, Vera preceded him in death on January 14, 2016. Vera and Jim were blessed with six children.
Jim is survived by his six children, Wayne (Jean) Hartwig of Jefferson, Barbara Saenz of Coral Gables, Florida, Joann Fetherston of Raleigh, North Carolina, Janet (Randy) Culler of Bluffton, South Carolina, Mary (John) Watts of St Augustine, Florida and David (Elaine) Hartwig of Santee, California. Jim is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and two great–great-grandchildren.
Jim was the second oldest of 12 children and he is survived by two sisters, Carol Neuman and Kathy Bauer; and two brothers, John Hartwig and Robert (Donna) Hartwig and one sister-in-law, Ruth Hartwig. Further surviving are nephews and nieces.
He was further preceded in death by his parents and four sisters and three brothers.
Jim was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Johnson Creek, where services will be held on Monday, February 5, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Dale Vlastnik officiating. Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the service. Burial will take place at Evergreen Cemetery in Johnson Creek. Memorials may be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church, Johnson Creek Historical Society or a charity of one’s choice. Hafemeister Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Watertown is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at www.hafemeisterfh.com.
The family would like to sincerely thank all of the staff at Alden Estates for the excellent care given to Jim over the last five years.

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