December 21, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.

James (Jim) B. Rutten

James (Jim) B. Rutten
James (Jim) B. Rutten


James (Jim) Bradley Rutten, age 86, departed poetically with the setting sun on Nov. 30, 2022, surrounded by his wife and children. The family gathered at his side during his final days is testament to a life well-lived with love, consideration, and a profound sense of duty.

Jim was the third of thirteen children, born July 24, 1936, in Osakis to Walter and Marion (Arntson) Rutten. He grew up in Plainfield, Illinois and spent summers and holidays at the family cabin in Osakis. Jim attended and played football for Notre Dame University, served in the US Army during the Budapest Uprising, and attended St John’s and Lewis Universities. Jim married June Felling in Sauk Centre, in 1962. They raised seven children in Plainfield, Illinois. He led his family’s silo business, Railoc Inc., and was awarded businessman of the year by Lewis University.  He was heavily involved in the community serving on school and hospital boards, as a Eucharistic minister, and an active member of the Knights of Columbus. After their children were grown, Jim and June relocated to Sauk Centre. Jim and June owned the historic Palmer House hotel, and Jim found purpose as a farm appraiser, working until age 84. A universal donor, Jim regularly donated blood to the Red Cross and was recently recognized for his generosity.

Jim built his life on a foundation of Catholic faith and quiet devotion, and his celebration of mystery carried him through the pain and joy of his life. An enthusiastic observer of nature, Jim frequently pointed out the beauty and divinity of the natural world. An endlessly curious lifelong learner, Jim found joy in gathering and sharing information, and remaking broken or discarded objects for new use. He enjoyed music, traveling, being outdoors, hunting, fishing, nature photography, watching football and spending time with family. Jim and June spent winters in Hawaii, kayaking with whales and devoutly watching the sun slide off the edge of the Pacific horizon.

Jim’s love lives on in the hearts and traditions of his wife of 60 years, June (Felling) Rutten, and his children Briget Rutten, Gretchen (Mark) DeCraene, Fr. Erich Rutten, Stephanie (Tony) Liberko , Bradley Rutten, Derek (Lila) Rutten and Molly Rutten (Devon Alexander). Jim is survived by his exceptional grandchildren, Nicholas, Jack, and Adam DeCraene, Sofia Liberko, Julian and Chloe Rutten, and Oskar, Clara, Hazel, Linus, and Poppy Alexander. Jim is also survived by his siblings Donna (Pete) Bessette, Delores ‘Snooks’ Joyce, Gerry Kelly, Louise ‘Weese’ (Terry) Drauden, Timothy (Brent) Polivany, Christine (Daryl) Eastburg, Dot (John) Forrest and Jon (Connie) Rutten as well as brother-in-law David J Olderman. He was preceded in death by his sisters Jean Olderman, Jude (Rick) Bilyeu, and brothers Peter T. and Walter ‘Butch’ Rutten, and brother-in-law Bob Kelly.

Even in death, Jim’s commitment to the environment was evident in his request for a green burial. Immediately upon his passing, a funeral Mass was held at his bedside. His son, Fr. Erich Rutten, presided; June and daughter Gretchen cantored, accompanied by the choir of their children. He was laid to rest, without preservation, in a beautiful handwoven seagrass casket and buried directly in the earth with his collection of pine cones and rocks on the morning of Dec. 2.

His memorial mass will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Dec. 28, 2022, at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre, preceded by a visitation at 11:00 a.m.. A live stream will be available for those unable to travel at this time.

Arrangements were made with Patton-Schad Funeral & Cremation Services of Sauk Centre.

Consider donating in Jim’s honor to the Red Cross or the Giving Green Fund. and



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