James A. Exum, age 72, of Necedah, Wisconsin, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday,
August 8th, 2018, and moved on with his trombone to the big gig in the sky. James was born
February 7th, 1946, in Sacramento, California.
His life was one of travel, music, adventure, bringing joy and laughter to all, and most of all, love
for his family and friends.
James started his path as a trombonist in high school in Sacramento. After graduation, he
joined The United States Air Force on March 3rd,1963, to play to in the Air Force Band.
Following his military service, he studied music at Sacramento State College and Sacramento
James went on to enjoy a career as a professional trombonist and musician. Throughout his
travels, James had the pleasure of performing with many notable musicians, including BB King,
Otis Clay, Millie Jackson, John Lee Hooker and others. He went on the road with Baby Hewey
& the Babysitters. He toured for four years with The Impressions and recorded on some of their
albums. He recorded with Johnny Winter on his “Guitar Slinger” album. James and Lucky
Peterson toured together in Europe for a decade.
James wrote and recorded his own music. He especially loved jamming out with friends and
family. He founded Cabin Fever Productions and was always ready and willing to get in his
studio to make music. One of his songs, “Remember When”, was written especially as a
marriage proposal to his wife Bonnie. He used to stop the car in the middle of the road just to
dance with his Bonnie Girl.
James loved flying in his flight simulator. He shared his love of flight with his grandchildren by
taking them to Oshkosh to enjoy the shows at the EEA.
James had such a unique sense of humor - he loved to play practical jokes and make people
James is survived by his beautiful wife and loving Best Friend Bonnie Jean (Sutter) Exum, a.k.a.
his Bonnie Girl, whom he married Jan 3, 1998; his adored step-daughters Heather Otts,
Shanene Otts Schmidt, Magen Otts, and Lyndee Beistle-Otts; eight grandchildren; two greatgrandchildren; his brother Robert Exum; his niece Karleen Rhey, who was his favorite partner to play played Words with Friends; his beloved dog BJ; his daughter Amanda and son Brian Exum; and so many who loved him.
He was preceded in death by his faithful companion and best friend Buster
We shall always recall his advice to “Remember your ABCs: Always Be Cool.”
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, August 18, 2018, at 1:00 pm at Veteran’s Memorial Hall (101 Plum St.) in Necedah, Wisconsin. Military Honors will be rendered at 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to family. The Hare Funeral Home in New Lisbon is assisting the family with arrangements. Online guestbook available at www.harefuneralhome.com