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James was born in Dickinson on February 23, 1954, the son of Leroy “Bud” and Ethelyn (Stoxen) Marcusen, minutes after his twin sister, Joy. He grew up on the family farm south of Taylor with his ten brothers and sisters. During his high school years, James trusted Jesus as his savior and lived the rest of his life for the Lord. James graduated from Taylor High School in 1972. After earning a teaching degree from Dickinson State University, he accepted a position at Bowbells High School where he taught social studies and “non-music” and coached boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball. James married Jean Paulson on July 18, 1978, at Taylor Lutheran Church. James left teaching for a career in farming, and the couple moved to the Marcusen family farm. With his three brothers, he farmed and ranched for over 40 years. James and Jean were blessed with three children and twelve grandchildren.
James faithfully served the people around him. A lifelong member of Taylor Lutheran Church, James was active in his church community—serving numerous terms on the church board, helping coordinate ATEC retreats, teaching Sunday school, working with the youth group, leading worship services, and joining an overseas mission trip to Uganda. James also served the community through membership in the Gideons, the Lions Club, and the Taylor Fire Department.
James exuded passion for life through his varied interests and robust relationships. A fierce competitor and talented athlete, he loved playing basketball, and even after he started farming, he coached grade-school and high-school basketball in the Taylor and Richardton schools for many years. Gifted with a smooth baritone voice, James enjoyed singing at church events, Taylor musicals, and the occasional wedding. He was a skilled carpenter, an avid Packer fan, and an attentive, loving grandfather. Above all, he delighted in meeting people, forging relationships, and telling stories. Although deeply humble, he was a mentor to numerous friends and family members, and his wisdom and guidance are already missed.
James is survived by his wife of 44 years, Jean of Taylor; son, Nathan (Emily) Marcusen and children, Anna, Owen, and Clara of Orono, MN; daughter, Liza (Jeremy) Ficek and children, Trevin, Hazel, Treyson, and Zane of Dickinson; daughter, Leanna (Stephen) Backes and children, Caleb, Abel, Silas, Phineas, and Ezekiel of Mandan; siblings, Sharon (Arnold) Burian of Bismarck, Jean (Les) Lorentzen of Anchorage, AK, Noel (Keith) Gunderson of Moorhead, MN, Larry (Margaret) Marcusen of Dickinson, Eileen (Bob) Gjermundson of Taylor, Leon (Becky) Marcusen of Dickinson, Joy (Jim) Bloom of Taylor, Elroy (Chris) Marcusen of Dickinson, Melodie (Larry) Watts of Clinton, NC; and father-in-law, Inky Paulson of Taylor.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister and brother-in-law Carolyn and Jim Lisko, sister-in-law Loris Marcusen, and his mother-in-law, Clara Paulson.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials be made to a charity of your choice.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.stevensonfuneralhome.com
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