James "Jim" L. Arjes, 84

James "Jim" L. Arjes, age 84 of Lawler, died Friday, June 4, 2021, at his home. 

Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, June 27, 2021, at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Hampton, IA with Rev. Kevin Frey celebrating the service. Interment will follow at Harlington Municipal Cemetery in Waverly, IA with Jim's grandchildren serving as pallbearers. 

Friends may greet the family from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service on Sunday at the church. Online condolences for the Arjes family may be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com

Jim was born on Sept. 16, 1936, to John and Mildred (Richards) Arjes in Waverly, where he grew up and attended school. He was an excellent football player for the Go-Hawks, and although he did not wrestle for his high school team, he beat some pretty good kids when he traveled to various non-high school tournaments. 

After graduating from high school in 1955, Jim attended Wartburg College, where he played football, his studies were interrupted when he and several friends decided to serve their country and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Jim spent four years in the Army and played football for his various base teams, including one in Gelnhausen, Germany. 

After he returned from his service, he met Coleen Cline and the two were married in December of 1958. They had two children‚ Mark and Dana. Coleen died in a tragic auto accident in 1964, leaving Jim a young widower. 

Following his Army service, Jim returned to Waverly and continued his studies and playing football at Wartburg, where he earned a degree in physical education. 

His first teaching job took him to Clarion, where he taught and coached. That “Clarion connection” proved valuable, for one day when he was back in Waverly, he met a young Clarion woman taking summer classes. Judy Jorgenson knew Jim was a teacher at Clarion and asked him how he liked teaching in her hometown? And the rest was history. The two began dating — often with Mark and Dana along for the ride — fell in love and were married on Dec. 17, 1965, at First Lutheran Church in Clarion. The couple later added a third child, Cory, to the family. 

Jim taught in Clarion for three years before taking a job in Nevada, where he started the high school wrestling program. 

Two years later, he found the perfect school to teach and coach at when he accepted an offer from Turkey Valley High School, where he taught physical education and led the Trojans’ standout wrestling program. 

He taught countless Turkey Valley students the value of lifelong physical education. He wasn’t one of those teachers who just rolled the balls out and said let’s play a game; instead, his PE classes went fishing, learned how to cross-country ski and discovered lifelong passions. 

Over a 20-year period leading Turkey Valley’s wrestling team, his teams went 189-48-2 in dual meets, had seven undefeated seasons, won 16 conference titles, claimed nine sectional championships and won six district crowns. The Trojans were the state runner-up in Class AA in 1976, took fourth in 1980 and finished third in 1981. Five of his wrestlers won individual state titles, and he also coached five wrestlers who eventually became NCAA all-Americans. 

But it was his coaching style that made Jim memorable. He rarely moved off his chair when he was mat side, and he rarely, if ever, yelled at his wrestlers or those officiating his match. Like he told his wrestlers, “I coach you at practice.” The relationships he built in wrestling lasted a lifetime, and he is a member of the Turkey Valley Hall of Fame, the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. 

Growing up, his kids loved hanging out with their dad. Jim was a busy man — he taught, he coached, he helped at other Turkey Valley sporting events, he painted and shingled in the summer — but he always made time for his children. The boys will tell you there was nothing more special than going with Dad to the wrestling room, and Dana will joke about the time her father made sure she was safely tied in on top of a ladder during a painting job. 

As good as a father as he was, he was an even better grandfather. He was a great grandpa to 11 grandchildren and found a way to step up his game for his 12 great-grandchildren. 

Jim was a talented woodworker, building everything from log cabin houses to cedar chests to quilt racks, and his projects will remain a treasured part of his family members’ lives for eternity. He also was a dang good fisherman and liked to put together puzzles. 

Jim and Judy were longtime members of Trinity Lutheran Church in New Hampton, and it was a rare Sunday when they weren’t one of the first parishioners to take their seats in the church. 

Many will remember Jim Arjes as the greatest wrestling coach in Turkey Valley history, but he was so much more than just a coach. He was a wonderful husband to first Coleen and then Judy for more than 55 years, a loving father to his three children, the best grandpa any could ask for, a hard-working partner to his summer painting and shingle friends, a teacher who cared about each and every one of his students and a friend who made his family, his school and his community a better place. 

Jim Arjes, in so many ways, can’t be replaced, but for those whose lives he touched in his 84 years on this Earth, he made an impact that will never be forgotten. 

Jim is survived by his wife, Judy Arjes of Lawler, IA; two sons, Mark (Cathi) Arjes of Owatonna, MN, Cory (Michelle) Arjes of Austin, MN; one daughter, Dana (George) Jons of Arlington, TX; 11 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; one brother, Richard (Ann) Arjes of Waverly, IA; one foster brother, Robert (Norma) Garrett of Waverly, IA; one sister-in-law, Betty Johnson of Colorado. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Coleen Arjes in 1964; one brother, Roger Arjes.

New Hampton Tribune

121 West Main Street
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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