James O. Kusler, 73, died November 7, 2021 at Sanford Medical Center, Bismarck, North Dakota from chronic heart failure. Services will be held at 2:00 PM CST, Thursday, November 11, 2021, at the Beulah Congregational Church, Beulah with Pastor Istvan Vasarhelyi officiating. Burial will follow in the Beulah City Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 PM Wednesday at the church.
Jim, as he was usually known, was the son of John and Alma Kusler, one of four siblings, grew up on the Brush Creek family farm south of Beulah where he lived much of his life in the last years and until the day of his death. He attended Beulah schools and graduated from the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks. He then completed a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) where he learned the importance of mastering the art of communication. After graduation he became the media director for Gov. Link’s 1976 reelection campaign. In 1977-1978 he worked at Meyer Broadcasting in Bismarck as a market research and development analyst leaving to become a research and information assistant to Gov. Link, 1978 -1981. Jim and Gov. Link developed a special friendship often developing strategies over pie and coffee at a local truck stop. He then became a special assistant to ND Tax Commissioner Kent Conrad through 1982. He left that office to enter politics, winning a state Senate seat for his home district and served in that capacity from 1983 through 1987. His last office in state politics was as Secretary of State from 1989-1993.
Jim then moved to the family farm and began a new venture co-founding Brush Creek Organic (1982-2013) and establishing the Brush Creek Certified Organic Beef label. Additionally, during 1994-1997 he was CEO and General Manager of Prairie Organic in Bismarck. From 2006 to 2019 he co-hosted a weekly Friday Night Live talk radio show with Jeff Baranick at KDKT 1410 AM Radio in Beulah. From 2008 to 2015 he wrote a monthly newspaper column for the Beulah Beacon.
In his sixties he took on a new venture off farm working for CHS as a certified energy specialist in the Killdeer Oil Patch from 2012 to 2016 where he became the number one US sales specialist for diesel fuel sales and propane sales in 2014 and 2015. When asked how he did that he said “It took me two weeks to learn that if you listen more, you sell more.” In the last half dozen years, he had a vision for the family farmhouse where he spent so much of his life. Others looked at the old small farm house that was in need of big repairs and thought it needs to go. Jim looked at it, loved its past and had a vision of building a whole new house around it. Together with his friend Christof Weissenberger from Germany, who is an architect, they made that dream come true. He built a unique and wonderful house. He loved living in it and was able to enjoy it up through the day he died.
Jim is survived by his sisters Johnell Kusler, St. Paul, Minnesota, Milda Kusler Hedblom, St. Paul, Minnesota, his nephews, Shad Kusler, Mandan, ND, David Kusler, Bismarck ND, Scott J. Hedblom, Los Angeles, California, his nieces, Morgan Taylor, Athens, Georgia, Becky George, Bismarck, ND and his brothers-in-law, Geoffrey Taylor and Edwin Fogelman, St. Paul, Minnesota.
He is preceded in death by his parents, John Kusler and Alma Kusler, and his brother Gerald Kusler.
Arrangements conducted by Barbot Funeral Home, Beulah and Hazen.
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