Jimmy Gish, 78
Feb. 23, 1937 — Dec. 24, 2015

Jimmy GishJimmy Gish of West Bend died unexpectedly Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015, at the age of 78. He was born Feb. 23, 1937, to the late Alexander and Charlotte (nee Brunow) Gish, and grew up in West Allis.

 As a young man, he was an amateur boxer, a professional racecar driver and bought into an auto salvage yard in Milwaukee.

On Feb. 18, 1961, he was united in marriage to Bonnie Sanders in Merrill. He then served with the U.S. Army. For a short time, they lived in Seattle and returned to Wisconsin following his discharge. They moved to Franklin and settled in West Bend in 1968.

 For many years, Jimmy owned and operated various automotive businesses. In 1968, he purchased Bradley Auto Salvage, operating it until 1982. In 1986, he built and operated Soft Touch Car Wash, which currently is Scrub-A-Dub on South Main Street in West Bend. In 1992, he built the current Beaver Dam Raceway. He was the main force behind the renovation and revival of the historic one-third mile clay oval.

 Later in life, he cherished his grandchildren. He attended as many of their events as possible, and loved being able to spend time with them. He also volunteered at the Full Shelf Food Pantry in West Bend for many years.

 Survivors include three sons, Joel, Daniel and Nathan (Barbara); six grandchildren, Caden, Makenna, Kasey, Colton, Sophie and Paxton; four sisters, Jean Jonas, Shirley (Bernard) Metz, Margaret Stansbury and Mary Syme; his companion for 24 years, Joanne Wisdom; two childhood friends, Lou Dibella and Al Gagliano; and other relatives and friends.

 In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Bonnie on Feb. 12, 1987, and eight brothers and sisters, Edward, Alexander Jr., Lester, Robert, Ervin “Slim,” Audrey Borders, Earl and Nancy Eloyed.

 Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (809 S. Sixth Ave., West Bend). Burial will follow in Washington County Memorial Park. Visitation will be 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Wednesday at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials to St. John’s Sonshine Community Park.

 The Schmidt Funeral Home of West Bend is serving the family. Online guestbook and condolences available at www.schmidtfuneralhome.com.