Obituary: James Cagle

May 14, 1938 – Jan. 26, 2020

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Artist and teacher James Cagle, 81, died at his home. He was born in Sweetwater, Tennessee, and later moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Prof. Cagle was a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and Michigan State University and retired as a professor emeritus of fine arts in 2007, completing 42 years at St. Norbert College.

His work in experimental film was seen nationally and internationally, including film festivals and university screenings. His still photography can be found in the permanent collections of the Miller Art Center in Sturgeon Bay, and in the Madison [Wisconsin] Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA), where A Final Meditation on Art is opening Feb. 29.

Cagle’s retirement years were filled with extensive artistic exploration complemented by an interest in Victorian photography and literature, period films, art books, classical music and grand ballet. He was convinced that education was the primary means by which to heal social illnesses and to provide a more elevated life of growth, harmony and peace of mind. He believed deeply in federal-government financing of university education and medical care for all.

Jim often recalled family get-togethers at the home of George and Elaine Van Domelen of De Pere, the parents of his wife, Katherine (Kathy) McCabe. Jim is survived by stepdaughter Cheryl and husband David Modica, with special mention of stepson Jerry Van Deurzen, acknowledging their times together, especially during the final year of Jim’s life. Kathy’s sisters and their husbands, Sue and George Binsfeld, Amy and Tim Houlihan. Her brothers, and their wives, John and Ruth, Jim and Mary, Gary and Karmin, along with their children, provided many meaningful times in sharing stories, laughter and much-enjoyed potlucks.

Along with Kathy’s family, Jim is survived by two biological children, Brian and wife, Kaleena; daughter, Leslie; granddaughter, Lily; and brother, Joe. His loving and loved wife, Katherine, with whom he shared many values and beliefs, numerous trips, discovering diners, a love for open space, challenging ideas, good films, social concern and country rides, will miss him greatly.

He wishes to express his love for St. Norbert College for providing the means by which he was able to live an intellectually and creatively rich life through his students and colleagues – and to the Norbertine Fathers for the many friendships and opportunities they brought him. He is grateful to the staff of Green Bay Oncology and Unity Hospice for their thoughtful care.

No public service will be held. In lieu of flowers, please volunteer some time locally in your community, or make a contribution to PBS perhaps. Kathy requests a donation to your local animal shelter.

Huehns Funeral Home and Door County Crematory in Sturgeon Bay are assisting the Cagle family. Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos of James can be shared through his tribute page at

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