James R. (Jim) Corcoran
James Robert “Jim” Corcoran, 91, formerly of Grand Forks. ND, passed away in Oklahoma City, OK, on Sunday, January 27, 2019. Jim was a wonderful and loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and is greatly missed. He was born on March 7, 1927, in rural Grand Forks, ND, the son of Raymond, Sr. and Mella (Stromsodt) Corcoran. He grew up in Grand Forks, attended GF Central High School and later received his GED. He was a veteran and served our country in the U.S. Navy (Seabees) during WWII and was stationed in the Philippines. Jim met the love of his life, Ila Lundgren, and they married on September 7, 1947 and were married for 71 years. Together, Jim and Ila owned and operated the Grand Forks Speedway for many years. He was the owner, promoter, announcer, trackman, etc. Friday nights at the track were exciting and found family and friends working together to put on the show. Jim also operated as “Corcoran’s Racers” and promoted stock car racing events in Fargo, Jamestown, Minot and Hallock. Ada and Warren, MN. Later, Jim and Ila purchased and ran the Bemidji Raceway. Jim received many honors and recognitions over the years, including “Racing Promoter of the Year” and was inducted into the Grand Forks Speedway’s Hall of Fame. He was also instrumental in organizing the Tri-Can Racing Association that promoted racing in ND and MN as well as Canada. After retiring, Jim enjoyed the role of racing historian, helping preserve stock car racing history. He loved being on the road with Ila, visiting his daughters and their families. They eventually relocated to Oklahoma. Jim and Ila were members of Sharon Lutheran Church for many years. The church library is named after their son, David James Corcoran, who was killed in the Vietnam War. Jim was also a member of the Kiwanis, American Legion and the VFW. Jim is survived by his wife, Ila, of Oklahoma City, OK, four daughters, Connie (Dennis) Morgan of Amarillo, TX, Gayle Stettler of Whitewater, WI, Barb Skari of Grafton, ND and Dona (Joe Van Beckum) Zanotti of Edmond, OK; eight grandchildren, David (Tracy) Skari of Halstad, MN, Katie (Matt) Johnson of Troy, WI, Koller (Carly Lund) Stettler of Whitewater, WI, Kyle Skari of Grafton, ND, Jamie Morgan of Amarillo, TX, Danielle Zanotti of Houston, TX, Angela Zanotti of Tulsa, OK and Marie (Kaleb) Stettler Kleine of Blacksburg, VA; and seven great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, Marian Strom of Grand Forks, ND and Harriett (Richard) Hannah of East Grand Forks, MN and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his son, David, son-in-law, Dale Stettler, his parents, three brothers, Raymond, Jr., Harold, Larry and three nephews. A Memorial Service will be held at Sharon Lutheran Church, Grand Forks, ND on Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. An earlier service was held in Oklahoma City. Jim will be interred in Memorial Park Cemetery North, Grand Forks, ND at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the David Corcoran Memorial Library at Sharon Lutheran Church or a favorite charity.