A lifelong horse lover and a devoted family man, James “Jim” O. Huber died peacefully on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at the age of 83 on his farm, with his loving wife and children and his loyal dog, Amigo, by his side. Born on February 19, 1938, in Madison, Wisconsin, Jim was one of the original founders of Milwaukee Polo Club, serving as club president for over three decades. In recognition of his undeniable passion and countless contributions to the sport throughout his lifetime, the Board unanimously passed a resolution formally honoring him during the 2021 USPA Fall Meetings.
The son of Mortimer George and Mary Ellen Huber, Jim graduated from Edgewood High School in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1956 and graduated with honors in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Business degree. He was eager to marry his high school/college sweetheart, Joyce Marie Verthein, and they celebrated their marriage in June of 1961. While in college at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jim was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity where he served as President of the undergraduate chapter and President of the Interfraternity Council. As an undergraduate, Jim received the Balfour Award, given annually to the most outstanding undergraduate of all Sigma Chi chapters in the United States and Canada. He earned his JD in 1963 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. While in law school, Jim was President of the Student Bar Association and was elected to the academic honor society Order of the Coif; Jim was also a member of Law Review. He was an avid Badger fan and spent many football Saturdays at Camp Randall stadium and the Sigma Chi house with his brother Dan and cherished friends.
Jim served for two years as 1st Lieutenant (1963-1965) in the army’s Third Armored Division, based in Frankfurt, Germany. While in Europe, Jim and Joyce enjoyed many travel adventures together. Upon returning from Germany, Jim joined Foley & Lardner law firm and made partner in 1970. He was a prominent member of the firm’s litigation team and he headed Foley’s recruitment efforts for many years. Some of those new recruits became Jim and Joyce’s dear friends. He was known as a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. Jim retired from Foley & Lardner in 2003.
Throughout his life, Jim had a long tenure as President of the Sigma Chi House Corporation and was involved in numerous community and charitable organizations, serving as President of the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Athletic Club, President of Athletes for Youth and President of the Milwaukee Polo Club for more than 30 years. “Jim was always in my corner!” said Megan Flynn who grew up playing at Milwaukee Polo Club. “He took me on my first polo trip without my family, wrote numerous letters of recommendation, hired me to run a polo school, and always made sure I had a spot in the Sunday game. He was tough, but always a good mentor and I will always be grateful to him for that!”
A natural born leader, Jim had a passion for horses and was a gifted horseman. During retirement some of his favorite activities included playing polo with clubs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Aiken, South Carolina, rounding up cattle out west, visiting Argentina to recruit polo players for the local club and discovering his next polo pony at his favorite racetracks.
Jim’s lasting dedication to the sport was recounted by his son Tom, “dad’s passion for horses and polo is well known. He was the driving force behind the Milwaukee Polo Club for many years. He loved the Sunday afternoon games with a sideline for families enjoying time together, highlighted by stomping the divots at halftime and pony rides for the kids after the games. Weekend polo trips around the Midwest was one of his favorite things to do. He loved polo but what really gave him satisfaction were the horses. From the time he was a kid until the time he passed away, horses played an important part of his life. We recall many trips travelling across the Midwest to buy young horses off racetracks and ranches. These excursions were known as ‘Huber family vacations.’”
Flynn also shared, “If I had to pick one memory for a favorite, it was road tripping to Minnesota with Jim. We played our games which were always fun, but Jim also liked to be the life of the party after! We all piled in the truck together, with the cooler stocked with vodka tonics in the back, and always had a great time!”
Former USPA Central Circuit Governor Bob McMurtry kindly reflected, “I played with Jim at the Milwaukee Polo Club many times. Jim was always a gracious host off the field and fierce competitor on the field. Jim was one of the founders and the patriarch of the Milwaukee Polo Club. Jim actively recruited great polo teams from Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan and Canada for 30 years to Milwaukee to play on Sunday matches at Milwaukee Polo Club. Jim will be greatly missed on and off the polo field. However, Jim leaves a legacy to polo in his son, grandson and granddaughter – all polo players. I watched his granddaughter play just last week at UVA Polo. Well done Jim.”
The generational impact of Jim’s dedication to horses has been passed down to his grandchildren and great grandchildren many of whom shared his love of horses. Expressed by his eldest daughter Kathy, “Tori and Maggie are both perusing their passions involving horses. Tori is a trauma therapist sharing with others how special the connection can be between a person and a horse. Maggie is in her second year at UW Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. They wouldn’t be who they are today if it wasn’t for dad and the love of horses, he shared with them”.
Jim and his brothers, Mort and Dan, share a love of the west and their families continue to gather together in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Jim embodied “work hard, play hard” and loved nothing more than to be surrounded by his family and friends, many of whom crossed multiple generations. He was a fiercely loyal friend.
He was preceded in death by his brother Mortimer George Huber and his niece Mary Agnes Huber. He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Joyce Verthein Huber, his brother Daniel Robert Huber (Patricia Ann), his children, Katherine Coakley (Kevin), Michael Huber (Rebecca), Thomas Huber and Susan Huber, and grandchildren, Carly Brunclik (Max), Tori Rogers (Logan), Margaret Coakley, Jack Coakley, Claire Huber, Mara Huber, Tommy Huber, Louisa Huber and Davis Miller, and three great grandchildren, Tucker, Tatum and Margot Brunclik. Jim is further survived by loving in-laws and many nieces, nephews and their spouses. He is also survived by Amigo, his Doberman and constant companion who already misses him dearly.
A liturgy of Christian burial was held the morning of Wednesday, November 3, 2021, at Saint Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church, W359 N8512 Brown Street, Oconomowoc. In honor of Jim, blue jeans, cowboy boots and hats, Wisconsin Badger and Milwaukee Polo Club attire were welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jim’s memory to Saint Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church, or to a charity of your choice.