James Bernard Degnan

James Degnan 2

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — James Bernard Degnan, 67, of La Crosse died Monday, February 24, 2020, in his home in La Crosse from natural causes. He was born August 23, 1952, in Lake City, Minnesota, to John W. and Kathryn M. (Logelin) Degnan.

James was a carpenter and musician, playing trumpet, trombone and flugel horn, as well as piano. As a carpenter, he enjoyed continually fixing up his house as well as working on his siblings’ and parents’ homes.

Jim’s passion for music led him to co-found his first band while still in high school — K&D Bootery. The 10-piece band included a full brass section, directed by Jim. This band opened for Wayne Cochran, “The White Knight of Soul,” at the Varsity Club. More recently he was in avant-garde artist, Billy Curmano’s New X Art Ensemble, which played experimental music as art performing in Death Valley and even concerts for cows. Jim played in a number of La Crosse and Winona bands throughout the years, some with his late cousin, Jeanie Beyers (Chichanowski), who was a gifted singer. He enjoyed customizing his horns as well as having unique custom horns made.

Friends remember Jim as very kindhearted, generous and carefree. He was always joking and making light of any situation. He enjoyed taking his older brother, Paul, out for lunch.

He is survived by two sisters, Ruth (Daniel) McIntyre of La Crosse and Barbara (Danny) Leoni of Rosamond, California; two brothers, Paul of West Salem and Jack of La Crosse; one nephew, Christopher Degnan of Chicago; an uncle, Donald Logelin of La Crosse, and an aunt, Clarice Bidney of Shoreview, Minn.

James was preceded in death by his parents, John and Kay Degnan of La Crosse.

A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Ave. South, La Crosse. Rev. Rick Roberts will officiate, with internment to be held in Catholic Cemetery, 519 Losey Blvd. S., La Crosse, Wis. Family and friends may visit from 9:30 a.m. Wednesday until the time of services at the funeral home. A Zoom link will be added when available for those who want to attend virtually. Online condolences may be made at www.blaschkeschneider.com.