Jimmy Gish of West Bend died unexpectedly on Thursday, December 24, 2015 at the age of 78 years. He was born on February 23, 1937 to the late Alexander and Charlotte (nee Brunow) Gish, and grew-up in West Allis.
As a young man, he was an amateur boxer, a professional race car driver, bought into an auto salvage yard in Milwaukee,
On February 18, 1961, he was united in marriage to Bonnie Sanders in Merrill, WI. He then served with the United States Army. For a short time, they lived in Seattle, WA, and returned to Wisconsin following his discharge. They moved to Franklin, and settled in West Bend in 1968.
For many years, Jimmy owned and operated various automotive businesses. In 1968, he purchased Bradley Auto Salvage, operating it until 1982. In 1986, he built and operated Soft Touch Car Wash, which currently is Scrub-A-Dub on South Main Street in West Bend. In 1992, he built the current Beaver Dam Raceway. He was the main force behind the renovation and revival of the historic one-third mile clay oval.
Later in life, he cherished his grandchildren. He attended as many of their events as possible, and loved being able to spend time with them. He also volunteered at the Full Shelf Food Pantry in West Bend for many years.
Survivors include 3 sons Joel, Daniel and Nathan (Barbara); 6 grandchildren: Caden, Makenna, Kasey, Colton, Sophie and Paxton; 4 sisters Jean Jonas, Shirley (Bernard) Metz, Margaret Stansbury and Mary Syme; his companion for 24 years Joanne Wisdom; 2 childhood friends Lou Dibella and Al Gagliano; other relatives and friends.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife Bonnie on February 12, 1987 and 8 brothers and sisters Edward, Alexander, Jr, Lester, Robert, Ervin “Slim”, Audrey Borders, Earl, and Nancy Eloyed.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, December 30 at 1 p.m. at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 809 South 6th Avenue, West Bend. Burial will follow in Washington County Memorial Park. Visitation will be at the church on Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 12:45 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials to St. John’s Sonshine Community Park.
The Schmidt Funeral Home of West Bend is serving the family.
Photo courtesy Bob Schneider Jr.