James T. Hart, 91, of Ely

JAMES T. HART, 91, Ely
The world lost a great man - our dad, grandpa and great grandpa, Jim Hart. He lived life to the fullest, most notably canoeing, kayaking and biking into his 80’s and skiing into his 90’s. With help from family, friends, and neighbors, he lived on his own until his final days at his cabin under the towering pines in Eagles Nest Township. Jim loved his place in the Piney Woods, and especially his large family of ten children, 24 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren. We all loved him too, and will miss him. He passed away in Ely, Minnesota on Monday, March 15, 2021 at the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital.
James Thomas Hart was born on January 10, 1930 in Duluth, Minnesota to the late Albert S. Hart and Nora Moran. His great grandparents Onesime Jolicoeur (James Hart) and Adelaide Bourget were some of the early residents of the city of Duluth, arriving in the early 1880’s from Quebec. Jim attended local Duluth schools and graduated from Duluth Cathedral (now Marshall) High School, class of 1948. He earned his B.A. in Economics from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota and finished his law degree with honors at William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline) in St. Paul in 1958.
As General Counsel for the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and later as Assistant City Attorney for the city of St. Paul, Jim was proud of his career. As a young attorney, he clerked for Judge Dennis F. Donovan, U.S. District Court and spent a few years in private law practice before he retired and moved from his home in Woodbury, MN to Ely. During his long career, he loved to spend his free time relaxing and gardening in his yard. We all enjoyed the fruits of his labors. His yard was gorgeous.
After moving to Ely, he made many dear friends and was very involved in social and civic activities in Ely and Eagles Nest Township. He loved gathering with family and friends for holidays and special events. Fourth of July at the Piney Woods, and Christmas in Saint Paul were cherished Hart family traditions.

As a veteran of the Korean War, Jim served in the U.S. Army from 1951-1953. He was stationed in Boston, Massachusetts for counter-intelligence training, and later in Japan for the remainder of his tour of duty.
Jim married his college sweetheart, Mary Ellen Stember in Ely at the old Catholic Church on August 21, 1954. They had ten children. Jim was married to Francis Leigh McMullen on May 1, 1994.
He was preceded in death by his first wife Mary Ellen in 1992, and his second wife Leigh in 2008, his sisters Rosemary in 1963, and Jeanne in 2011, his brother Bert in 2005, his parents, Albert S. Hart in 1936, and Nora Moran Hart in 1966, and his great grandson Orion in 2016.
Jim is survived by his children Jim (Cheryl), Lindsay (Joe) Smith, Leslie (Greg) Brzezinski, Tom (Chanthy), Elizabeth, Rob, Mary (Percy) Gutierrez, John, Dan (Dolores), Maggie (Tom) Crichton, and his sister Patte Peterson. Also surviving are his grandchildren Matt, Rebecca, Nathan, Molly, Scott, Sara, Paul, Gabe, Tony, Jeff, Luke, Brian, Helaina, Kelsey, Andy, Adam, Daniel, Lanie, Rea, Allie, Lily, Jake, Nick and Sam, and great grandchildren Addilyn, Henry, Jude, Kaylee, Addy, Elle, Madeline, Drew, Abigail, Ava, Laicey, Madden, Willow, Jayden, Cameron, Quentin, Leo, Pearl and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank St. Anthony’s Catholic Care, Northwoods Partners, local friends and neighbors, Dr. Jeff Wilt, Dr. Joe Schwinghamer, and the nurses and staff at Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital for their wonderful care and friendship especially in Jim’s last days.
Memorial Services will be planned for later in the summer.
Final interment will be at Calvary Cemetery in Duluth, Minnesota.
Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.