James Arnold “Jim” Agnini, a longtime resident of Phelps and Eagle River, died Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at Grace Lodge in Rhine­lander. He was 90.

He was born April 2, 1930, in Chicago, Ill., to Oreste J. and Agnes Agnini. 

He grew up in Maywood, Ill., and attended Proviso High School where he met his sweetheart and future wife, Lois.

Mr. Agnini served in the U.S. Navy, receiving an honorable discharge in 1951.

After his service in the Navy, he returned home and resided in west Chicago where he worked as a mason. In the early 1980s, he brought his masonry trade to the North Woods and started his own bricklaying business, specializing in stone and brick fireplaces.

His lifelong passion was the outdoors and his love of animals.

He built his own log cabin with a stone fireplace on Spectacle Lake in Phelps, and was appointed by the state as caretaker of the lake. He then relocated to the Eagle River area and built a home on Little Bass Lake.

Mr. Agnini was preceded in death by one brother, O.J. (Jope).

He is survived by his wife; one sister, Nancy Brady; and one brother, Michael.

A memorial service will be planned in the spring or summer. Interment will be at Northwoods National Cemetery in Rhinelander. 

Donations in Mr. Agnini’s memory can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Gaffney-Busha Funeral Home in Eagle River is serving the family.