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James "Jim" Samuel Kokales

August 3, 1939 ~ April 5, 2018 (age 78)

Click here to view Jim's Liturgical Wake Service.

Click here to view Jim's Mass of Christian Burial.

James “Jim” Samuel Kokales, 78, of Aberdeen, passed away Thursday, April 5, 2018 at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital in Aberdeen, surrounded by his loving family.

Mass of Christian burial will be 10:30 a.m., Friday, April 13, 2018 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 409 2nd Avenue NE, Aberdeen with Father Michael Griffin as celebrant and Father Mark Axtmann con-celebrating.

Burial will take place at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.

Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory, 414 5th Avenue NW, Aberdeen is in charge of arrangements.  

Visitation will be 5-7 p.m., Thursday, at the mortuary, with a liturgical wake service, led by Deacon Pete Mehlhaff, beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Visitation continues one hour prior to Mass at the church on Friday.

Friends may sign Jim’s online guestbook and also view his service via the live stream service link at

Memorials are preferred by the family.

Jim was born to Samuel and Matilda “Tillie” (Barth) Kokales on August 3, 1939 in Aberdeen, SD.  He graduated from Aberdeen Central High School in 1958.  Jim joined the military in 1960 and was honorably discharged.

He met the love of his life, JoAnn Hoff, and they were married on June 30, 1962 in Flasher, ND.  They made Aberdeen their home, where they raised their four children.  Jim and JoAnn have been happily married for 55 years.

Jim was employed by Mathes Electric as an electrician until 1964.  Jim, Cliff McQuillen and John Smith then formed KMS Electric, which they owned and operated for many years. In the summer of 1977, one of Jim’s true passions took him in a different direction.  Jim and his brother John opened Kokales Fishing Gallery to fulfill their passion and love for fishing.  Jim and John spent countless hours at the Fishing Gallery taking care of their customers, trading stories, and talking about where the fish were biting.  Family members and friends have enjoyed partaking in their numerous fish fry’s, and through many years of fishing, Jim became known as the “Crappie King.”  He openly shared his knowledge and joy of fishing with many and was so enthused to hear of others “catching the big one.”

Jim’s other passion in life was his family.  He was a wonderful father and grandfather, and was generous with his time when it came to his grandchildren.  He always made time for each grandchild’s needs, answering their questions and telling them stories of younger days, which they thoroughly enjoyed. He loved to take his grandchildren fishing and spent hundreds of hours at their sporting events. He had a talent for making each one of them feel special and unique.  Grandpa would always tell them after doing well it was because of the “Greek in them.”  He was so proud of his Greek heritage.

Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, JoAnn; one daughter, Colette (John) Carrels; three sons: Joe (Angela), John (Stacy) and Jim (Dionne), all of Aberdeen; 12 wonderful grandchildren:  J.D. (Emily), Jared, and Erica Carrels, Rachel, Austin, Emily, Spencer, Sierra, Kyra and Krissa Kokales, Bryce Fisher and Tristen Lickfelt; one special sister, Chris Buss of Aberdeen; along with many other loved in-laws, special family members, and 45 nieces & nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and beloved brother, John A. Kokales, of Aberdeen, SD.

Jim was treasured by many for his dignity, quiet strength, kindness, and generosity, which made everyone feel welcomed by him.  God must have had some good bait on April 5th, as he hooked a good man right into heaven.  We know He has a Great Lake just for him up in the sky.


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