James D. Swiatoviak, 65, of Grand Island, died Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, at Good Samaritan Society – Grand Island Village.
The family will celebrate James’ life from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, at Curran Funeral Chapel with an open mic at 3 p.m. for anyone to share stories, thoughts and prayers. Casual attire is requested. Curran Funeral Chapel is assisting the family.
James was born June 20, 1954, at Grand Island. He was the son of Leon W. and Geneva L. (Morris) Swiatoviak. He grew up in Grand Island attending Wasmer Elementary and graduated from Grand Island Senior High School in 1972. He continued his education at Kearney State College. In 1980, James began his association with Olympia Village Sporting Goods in Nebraska and Kansas. He was VP and a stockholder with the company.
He married Lauren Ediger on June 5, 1985, in Wichita, Kan., while operating the OV store there. She was the mother of two lovely daughters, on the hunt for a pair of hiking boots. He had the boot, but not the correct size. When said boots arrived, Swi gave her notice the transaction could be completed. She asked if he delivered. He did. She did. And they did for over 34 years ... They lived in Wichita, Kan., and Dallas, Texas, before moving back to Grand Island in 1986.
In 1999, Olympia Village Sporting Goods closed, and James was recruited by The Pella Window Stores in Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota as a sales manager, as well as a VP and stockholder, retiring in 2012.
James enjoyed playing guitar, golfing and training and mentoring the numerous sales men and women in both the sporting goods and window businesses. He started out every staff meeting with the following bit of wisdom. “It is not the stuff we sell in this store. It is the people who sell the stuff in the store.” People matter.
Upon hearing of his terminal and rare cancer diagnosis this summer, he chose to live quality days over days of quantity. He brought many people back together in Grand Island — cousins, classmates, neighbors and hosts of friends. He enjoyed all the tales told about the Division Street friends, and the bragging of sports statistics as they all continued to the upper grades.
He will be missed by his wife, Lauren Swiatoviak of Grand Island; daughters, Jamie Zerger (Lt. William) Lulloff of McPherson, Kan., and their children, Meagan and Becca Lulloff; Kelly Zerger (Dallas) Murray of Wichita, Kan., and their son Karter Riley; sister, Jennifer (Steve) Spiker of Raleigh, N.C; brothers, Tom Swiatoviak of Grand Island, Jerry (Ann Ward) Swiatoviak of Midlothian, Va; brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Larry and Teresa Schrag of Inman, Kan., and Shirley Reynolds of Yuma, Ariz.
James was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Irven and Helen Ediger; and brother-in-law, Robert Ediger.
Memorials are suggested to the family with designation at a later date.
You are welcome to sign James’ guestbook at www.curranfuneralchapel.com under his obituary.