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James Russell “Jimmy” Wikander

James Russell “Jimmy” Wikander – “Santa Claus Ho, Ho, Ho” – left this fallen world to live in perfection with his Savior Jesus Christ on December 4, 2023, peacefully at Altercare Summit Acres in Caldwell, Ohio. Jim was born November 25, 1955, the fourth son and tenth child of the late Roy E. Wikander, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Caldwell, and the late Marguerite Roebuck Wikander. Jim had attended the Golden Rule School and GNC Workshop in Byesville, a program his parents helped start. Though born with Down Syndrome, Jim was not treated any differently than his siblings. After the passing of his parents, he was able to live by himself until April, 2022, when he became a permanent resident of Summit Acres. Jim was an avid Ohio State fan.

Awaiting his arrival in heaven were his siblings, Sergeant David Joseph Wikander, who lost his life in Vietnam in June of 1970, having been struck by lightning while protecting his troops; and Julia Robinson, who was swept into Jesus’ arms in the tornado of 1998. Others awaiting his arrival were in-laws Ray Bonar, Alice Wikander, Jerry Simpson, and several nieces, nephews, and friends.

Those left to share their loss are siblings Ruth Bonar of Spanaway, Washington; Mary Simpson of Sachse, Texas; Sharon (Terry) McConnell of Caldwell; Dan (Sandy) Wikander of Sligo, Pennysylvania; John (Sandi) Wikander of Eatonville, Washington; Anna (Mark) Hildebrand of Timblin, Pennsylvania; Beth (Barry) Snyder of Valparaiso, Indiana; Steve Wikander of New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and Tom (Laurie) Wikander of Fairmont, Pennsylvania; as well as his sister-in-law, Sara (Steve) Bond; brother-in-law, Jerry (Ellen) Robinson of Sarahsville;  many nieces and nephews, including David Wikander, Jr.; and the church families of First Baptist Church in Caldwell, New Harmony Baptist Church on Marietta Road, and Faith Baptist Church in Belle Valley. Jim was truly a blessing to those who came to know him.

Friends may call Friday, December 8, 2023, from 4-8 p.m. at McVay-Perkins Funeral Home, 416 East Street, Caldwell. A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, December 9 at 1 p.m., where special memories of Jim can be shared. Family friend Ken Perkins will be officiating. Burial will follow at Dudley Cemetery.  The family would like to offer special thanks to Altercare Summit Acres, OhioHealth, and Absolute Hospice for making Jim’s last days comfortable. An online guestbook may be signed at


1 Comment

  1. Robert Everett on December 7, 2023 at 7:52 pm

    I first met Jimmy in 1986 when I started working at Golden Rule School in Byesville. Jim was always very friendly and helpful; he was also the life of the party at our annual Christmas party and any other after hours function. Jimmy was well liked and could be depended upon for good conversation; he liked a good story and could come up with good ones himself. He enjoyed basketball and spending time with his friends on various community outings. Jimmy, like many of his peers from Golden Rule who have passed…have definitely left their mark on our memories. I continue to work part time at the program now known by Guernsey Industries and like looking back at old photos from time to time, these pictures bring a smile for sure…

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