To the Williams community,
I write to share the sad news that James Wetteland, who began his long career at Williams in 1976, has passed away. James died on April 25, at age 64, at Albany Medical Center.
At Williams, James, better known as Jim or Jimmy to his friends and co-workers, demonstrated numerous talents. After first working in Dining Services as a cook’s assistant, he began painting on a temporary basis for Facilities (or Buildings and Grounds as it was called then) during the summer of 1989. He continued to paint each following summer until 1993, when he took on the role full-time. Over the years he transitioned from painter to architectural tradesperson, a position he continued until his retirement in July 2016.
As a painter and tradesperson, he earned a reputation for his high level of craftsmanship and professionalism, as well as his ability to solve problems thoughtfully. And with the college having more than 100 buildings, his skills were in high demand. Jim was known to spend countless hours restoring the college’s antique furniture, taking great care to maintain each piece’s vintage appearance and structural integrity. Among his greatest strengths was his ability to match wood furniture stains to perfection. “Jim was probably the most talented person to work in this shop,” says Mike Noyes, a fellow architectural tradesperson who worked with Jim at Williams. “He was an artist with an attention to detail like we had never seen here before—and we definitely have had some great workers.”
In retirement, Jim’s talents and strong work ethic kept him in demand for cabinet building, painting, and refinishing work, leaving him little time for his own projects, such as building models of old cars and restoring his fleet of beloved American and British motorcycles. Along with blues music, one of his greatest loves was his ’39 Buick Coupe. He also enjoyed the company of his dog, Bowser, and his cat, Felix.
Jim is survived by his brother, David Wetteland, of Ware, Mass; a sister, Karen Ditmar, of Florida; as well as several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
A wake will be held on Friday, May 4, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Paciorek Funeral Home, 13 Hoosac Street in Adams.
A mass in celebration of the life Jim Wetteland will be held on Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m., at Paciorek Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorial donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, or to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, Mass.
Our thoughts are with Jim’s family and many friends.