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601 W. 21st Street
PO Box 34
Yankton, SD 57078
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James L. Cihak Obituary


James L. “Jim” Cihak, age 65, of Yankton, died of cancer August 16, 2007 at his residence.

Memorial Mass will be 10:30 AM, Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Yankton, with Rev. Mark Lichter officiating. Burial of the cremated remains will be in the Sacred Heart Cemetery, Yankton, SD. Visitations will be 5 to 9 PM Monday evening at the Kostel Funeral Home and Crematory, Yankton, with a scripture service at 7:30 PM followed by a memorial tribute program and memory sharing. Honor guard will be the Hillcrest Invitational Pro-Am Green and Blue Jacket Sponsors.

On August 16, Jim Cihak passed away peacefully in his Yankton home, surrounded by his family. Jim was a lifelong resident of Yankton, an avid golfer, and will be remembered by all for his generous spirit and lively sense of humor. He is survived by beloved wife Judy (Yankton); brothers Bob (and Mary Lynn of Brier, WA), Tom (and friend Rogene Thaden of Yankton), and Rich (and Ann of Chaska, MN); sister Kathy (of Lake Geneva, WI); daughter Carrie (and George Lovell of Seattle, WA) and son Stephen (and Susan of Scottsdale, AZ). He was a proud grandfather to Stephen’s children Spencer (6) and Sarah (3). Jim embraced Judy’s children and grandchildren Scott, Jake, Katie, and Mackenzie (12) and Olivia (7).

Jim was proud to be a fourth generation South Dakotan, born and raised in Yankton. He was preceded in death by his beloved mother Irene (Binder) Cihak-Johnson and father Robert. His grandparents were Tom and Sylvia (Hamberger) Binder of Tabor and Joseph and Anne (Schauffsen) Cihak of Geddes.

Jim’s passion throughout his life was golf. He was a graduate of Iowa State University majoring in turf management and in his senior year was captain of the golf team. He was a member of the Professional Golfers’ Association and worked as a golf professional at the Bellefontaine Country Club in Ohio in the late 1960s. In the early 1970s, he played on the PGA Tour. After his return to Yankton in 1973, he was actively involved in supporting golf in South Dakota. He was a member and past president of the South Dakota Golf Association. In that capacity, he toured the State to rate golf courses and was a tireless supporter and past director of the South Dakota Junior Golf Association Foundation. He was an active member of the Hillcrest Country Club in Yankton, serving on their Board of Directors. Jim helped initiate the Hillcrest Invitational Pro‑Am tournament in 1974 and was involved in the tournament every year since then as a player and member of the organizing committee.

In 1973, after a few years away for college and work as a golf pro, Jim returned to Yankton and was a proud resident and avid supporter of his city for the remainder of his life. On returning to Yankton, Jim joined his father Bob and brother Tom at Cihak Insurance. After father Bob’s passing in 1978, Tom and Jim continued the business, assisting families throughout southeastern and southcentral South Dakota. Over the course of his 34-year career in the insurance industry, Jim received numerable company and industry awards and honors.

Jim enjoyed traveling with family and friends. Highlights of his journeys include annual trips to Las Vegas with his lifelong friends, trips on an Alaskan cruise and to the British Virgin Islands with his children, and an African safari with one of his golf partners. Jim designated as his honorary pall bearers his travel and golf partners Jay Hubner, Tom Lillibridge, Frank Messner, Dave O’Brien, Ted Gibbens and lifelong friend Jim Abbott.

Jim passed away after a long battle with cancer. In his last months and even days, Jim retained his sense of humor and attended to every detail to ensure he had taken care of his family and friends. Jim requested that, in lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember him make contributions to South Dakota Junior Golf Association Foundation (2116 S. Minnesota Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57105) or Avera Sacred Heart Hospice (501 Summit, Yankton, SD 57078).