James Francis Oleksak

August 2, 1949 ~ May 4, 2020 (age 70)


James Francis Oleksak, 70, of South Bend, passed away surrounded by his family on Monday, May 4, 2020, in his home.

Jim was born August 2, 1949 in Buffalo, New York, a son of the late Edward and Shirley (Long) Oleksak. He grew up in the Buffalo, New York area and was a graduate of Cardinal O’Hara High School. He furthered his education at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Notre Dame.

Jim married Christina Bagiackas on March 3, 1973 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in South Bend.  The couple made South Bend their home.

Jim was in management and founded the CHI (Community Housing Initiative). He also worked with Native American Tribes (Potawatomie’s, Seminole’s and Seneca’s) with housing issues. Jim was a member of the Cathedral of St. Matthew and served as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister. He loved flower gardening and was a two time winner of the South Bend Art League Garden Tour. Jim was a runner and qualified for Olympic Trials when he was young. He enjoyed traveling, photography, fishing and fossil hunting. Jim, working along with the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, used his artistic talents to create tiny shrouds for the infants who died during the Haitian Earthquake of 2010.

Jim’s surviving family includes his wife of 47 years, Chris; five children, Matthew Oleksak of Berrien Springs, MI, Joseph (Lisa) Oleksak of Paletine, IL, Julia (Curt) Deitering of Los Angeles, CA, Cecilia (Michael) Oleksak-Grove of South Bend and Martha (Jesse) Raymond of South Bend; fifteen grandchildren; three brothers, Jim’s twin, John Oleksak and Paul Oleksak and Mark Oleksak; and his sister, Sharon (Tony) Capra.

Due to the Coronavirus situation, a private Funeral Mass will be held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew, South Bend. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery, Mishawaka.

Memorials are suggested to the Women’s Care Center, 360 N. Notre Dame Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617.

Arrangements are under the care of Goethals & Wells Funeral Home, Mishawaka.


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Private Funeral Mass

Cathedral of St. Matthew
1701 Miami Street
South Bend, IN 46613


Women's Care Center
360 N. Notre Dame Avenue, South Bend IN 46617

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