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James C. Wakefield,   Age 93
Visitation Location: Benson Funeral Home, St. Cloud, MN
Visitation Date/Time: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 from 10:00 to 11:00 AM
Funeral Time: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 11:00 AM
Funeral Location: Benson Funeral Home Chapel, St. Cloud, MN
Burial Location: Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Little Falls, MN
    May 28, 1918 ~ August 8, 2011
     Long-time St. Cloud resident, James C. ("Jim") Wakefield, age 93, Sartell, MN died Monday, August 8, 2011 at his home in Country Manor in Sartell.
     Funeral services will be Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 11:00 AM at Benson Funeral Home Chapel, St. Cloud, MN. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the funeral home on Wednesday. Interment will be in the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Little Falls, MN at a later date.
     James C. Wakefield was born May 28, 1918 in St. Cloud, MN to Jacob and Frances (Clifford) Wakefield, of Clear Lake, MN. He married Hazel Lockrem on September 20 1952 in Northfield, MN.
     James graduated from Academic High School, Elk River, MN in 1936, where he was an all star athlete in football and basketball, leading his teams to several conference championships. After High School, he enrolled in the University of Minnesota on an athletic scholarship where he played football his freshman year under legendary coach Bernie Bierman. Unfortunately, his athletic career was cut short because of World War II.
    From 1939 to 1944, James was a proud part of a priority project to design and build the P-51 Mustang fighter for the war effort, in the engineering department of North American Aviation, Inc., Los Angeles, CA. While employed at North American Aviation, he also worked on the B-25 Mitchell bomber project. James subsequently joined the War in person, entering the United States Army, where he served in Europe from 1945 to 1946. After the War, he resumed his academic studies under the GI bill. In 1952, he received his BS Degree in Industrial Education from the University of Minnesota, and his MA in Education in from the University of Minnesota in 1959. He did further post-graduate work at the University of Michigan in 1964 and 1965.
     From 1952 to 1953 James taught woodworking, mathematics, electricity and drafting at Edina-Morningside Public High School, Minneapolis, MN. In 1953 he was appointed Assistant Principal of the Manitoba Technical Institute, Winnipeg, Canada. James became Principal of the Manitoba Technical Institute (now known as Red River College) in 1957. During his tenure, he greatly expanded the number of programs the school offered and doubled its enrollment to approximately 2,000 students. With the school having severely outgrown the old building, he actively lobbied the legislature for a new campus with room to grow for many years to come. The culmination of his work was the dedication of a new state-of-the-art campus in 1963. That campus now has more than 32,000 students enrolled.
    James returned to Minnesota in July 1964 to accept the position of Director of the St. Cloud Area Vocational-Technical Institute (now known as St. Cloud Technical and Community College). When he arrived, the school had approximately 200 students and was located in a wing on the North end of Technical High School. James immediately increased the number of programs offered by the school. As a result, the school began a rapid climb in enrollment, quickly outgrowing its facility at Tech High. To address this, he worked tirelessly to obtain funding for a new campus with room to grow. The results of his efforts were the acquisition, design, and construction of the current campus on Northway Drive, with the first building dedicated in the late 1960s. This was an accomplishment that James was very proud of. He continued adding programs and students to the school, building two more major additions to the campus during his tenure. By the time he left the school in 1975, its enrollment had grown to approximately 2,000 students. James credited his success in building vocational education programs to his philosophy that a vocational education administrator’s job is not done at graduation, but rather only after all students have found good jobs in their fields of study.
    From December 1975 to December 1977, James served as a Vocational Technical Education Consultant to the Associate Managing Director of the Imperial Organization of Social Services in Tehran, Iran. In that capacity, he advised the Iranian government on how to design a standardized curriculum for a new countrywide system of vocational education schools that was being built. James was quite lucky to have safely returned to Minnesota shortly before the Iranian revolution. From 1979 until his retirement, he was employed as a supervisor by the Minnesota Department of Vocational Education.
     James was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, American Vocational Association, Minnesota Vocational Association, American Technical Association, Minnesota Area Vocational Directors Association, Retired Teachers Organization, a 50-year member of The Grand Lodge of Manitoba - Sturgeon Creek Lodge #145, American Legion, St. Cloud Opportunities, and a former member of St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce and St. Cloud Kiwanis, and a former President of the now defunct St. Cloud Executive Club.
     Jim had innumerable accomplishments, but being inducted into the Elk River High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 at the age of 89 truly made him proudest. Jim was also an avid golfer, and played several times a week until after the age of 90. He spent many happy years at his cabin (which he built himself) at Big Birch Lake by Melrose, MN, and especially enjoyed fishing for walleye with family and friends. Warm regards to Earl and John for being such devoted friends, who were part of his pack with which he had many travel, sports, and golf adventures. Jim also enjoyed the company of a large circle of friends in Fort Meyers and Destin Florida during the winter months.
     Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Marion Wakefield Smith; and his brother, Howard O. Wakefield. Survivors include his wife, Hazel Wakefield of Sartell, MN; son James M. Wakefield of Los Angeles, CA; daughter, Susan (Bob) Wakefield-Olson of White Bear Lake, MN; and additional family and friends.
     Jim’s family would like to extend a special thanks to the caring staffs of Country Manor and Heartland Hospice, who gave him to a warm, caring environment in assisted living during his final illness.
     Jim will be terribly missed by all those who knew and loved him.
     In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to either the St. Cloud Technical Community College Foundation--James C. Wakefield Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund, or the Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund.

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