James R. Loiseau, 74, of Flandreau, SD passed away Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the Avera Flandreau Hospital.
Jim was born March 29, 1948, at Flandreau, SD to James M. and Frances E. (Valentine) Loiseau. He graduated from Egan High School in 1966. Jim spent summers working with his uncle, Charles Valentine, doing construction in Montana. After graduation, Jim went to Hansen Trade school in Fargo, ND, graduating from the diesel mechanic’s program. He married Mary Dell Martinson on February 17, 1968, in Flandreau. They moved to Rapid City, SD and Jim worked for the Foster-Bell Caterpillar dealership. Jim was transferred to Sioux Falls, SD where he was a field service manager for Foster-Bell which later became Kearns Machinery where he advanced to shop foreman in September of 1975.
Jim and Mary Dell moved to Egan, SD in December 1976. Together, they started JR Loiseau Construction doing township road maintenance with just one motor grader while using a one-stall garage as their shop. They started slowly adding equipment and manpower. Loiseau Construction, Inc. was formed in 1987 and does construction year-round throughout the Midwest with upward of 125 employees. Jim was a member of the Land Improving Contractors Association (LICA), serving as president in 1990, and Associated General Contractors (AGC) as president in 2003. The AGC presented him with the Golden Hard Hat award in 2018. His construction company mirrored his love of heavy equipment.
Jim was an avid outdoorsman, hunting big game all over North America. This last fall he hunted moose in Canada and then harvested a trophy bull elk in New Mexico. Jim took pride in his vast gun collection and especially enjoyed hunting with his children and grandchildren. Aviation played a vital role in his life, owning numerous airplanes throughout the years. Since spending winters in Arizona for the last 16 years, he was able to ride his horses year-round. He especially enjoyed team roping throughout the area. Jim was known as the local mechanic of his neighborhood in Surprise, Arizona. No project was too big or small for him to take on and solve. Jim continued in the Loiseau family tradition of raising Frenchman Quarter Horses. He supported his children and grandchildren’s horse events throughout their years in 4-H, Little Britches, high school, college, and professional rodeos. He watched the grandkid’s softball and baseball games and he took great joy in fishing and shooting with them.
Jim began his career with a degree from a diesel mechanic school, a tremendous work ethic and little else; he and Mary Dell went on to build one of the largest dirt construction companies in the Midwest. He was known by his family as Jim or Jimmy, business associates called him JR, and everyone called him a role model and mentor. All who knew him recognized him for his hard work, integrity, character, and storytelling. Jim was fierce in support of his family; to his grandchildren, he was a superhero. He will be greatly missed but his legacy will continue.
Jim is survived by his wife of 54 years, Mary Dell; children Jennifer Latham, and Shaw (Jolene) Loiseau, both of Flandreau; and grandchildren Kaitlyn (Lance Knutson), Kyndall (Dylan) Hart, Karli, and Kole and their father Darwin Latham; Payton, Lawson, Reagen and Korbin; great-grandchildren Hayes James Knutson and Huxley James Hart, and many nieces and nephews; seven siblings, Barb (Tom) Westover, Charles (Sandi) Loiseau, Beverly (Bill) Kennedy, Mick (Cindy) Loiseau, Lis (John) Hollmann, Mary (Kem) Kjerstad, and Val Loiseau.
His funeral service was held Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at the Flandreau High School Gymnasium with burial in Union Cemetery, Flandreau.