James J. Merki, 68, of Bellevue, Iowa passed away on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at Select Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. After admitting himself to the hospital for breathing difficulties he suffered a bout of pulmonary failure and passed away peacefully Thursday morning. A Scripture Service will be held for James at 10:30am, Thursday morning, September 22, Friends may call from 9:30 - 10:30 Thursday prior to the scripture service at the funeral home Born July 1, 1948 in Evanston, Illinois James is the dear son of late Joseph A. Merki, originally of Chicago, and the late LaVonne Donovan Merki, originally of Bernard, Iowa. James graduated from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois in 1967. He served in the United States Marine Corps during the late 1960s. James attended Milton College in Wisconsin and spent his career in sales. However, James first love was mentoring young people and volunteering in his community. He worked as a volunteer firefighter with the San Bernardino County Fire Department in San Bernardino, California before suffering a knee injury during a rescue. Some of his most rewarding work was during his time as a consumer services coordinator for the Inland Regional Center. IRC serves individuals with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino and Riverside counties and James was responsible for mainstreaming a group of young adults into society. While living in Bellevue, Iowa James had the opportunity to work for the school district. He beamed with pride when relaying stories of students learning and enjoying school. While James loved Chicago sports teams he had a special place in his heart for the Chicago Cubs. His unwavering commitment to the Cubs brought both joy and sorrow in his life. James is survived by his older sister Gail Coombs (David) and his younger brother Charles Merki (Celisse). He is also survived by five nieces and nephews.