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James "Jim" Arjes

James "Jim" L. Arjes age 84 of Lawler, IA died Friday, June 4, 2021 at his home. Funeral Service will be held 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. 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.

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  1. What an AMAZING man. Such WONDERFUL memories. So sorry to the family. R.I.P. Coach. God Bless ❤

  2. We will dearly miss our backyard neighbor and friend. Rest In Peace Jim and soon you will be planting your garden in Heaven. God bless your family. Love Jack and Dianne

  3. You have my sympathy on Jim’s passing. May you all have the strength needed, and may the Lord keep you in His hands. Prayers & hugs. Shirl Maher, Blue Earth, Mn.

  4. My deepest sympathies to Judy and the entire family. Coach Arjes is, and will continue to be, a true icon in the journals of Turkey Valley wrestling history. He taught so many of us so much! Not just about wrestling, but about life. Rest peacefully sir. You are loved.

  5. Dear Judy and Family, How sorry we are to hear about Jim. He has been missed and will continue to be missed. We always had nice discussions at the round table in church on Sunday mornings. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Our sympathy.

  6. I will never forget wrestling with Jim and what a good friend he was. Rest in peace. Jack Stifter

  7. Deepest sympathy to Judy & all family. I will always remember Jim stopping over for coffee at my folks every morning. Hopefully he is having a cup again with my folks in heaven. Lots of great memories at state wrestling tournaments. Thinking of all of you at this time!!

  8. One of a kind, best coach on Earth, condolences to the family of a great individual, he will be missed!

  9. It was a pleasure and honor to work with Jim as a faculty member at Turkey Valley in the middle-late 70’s. My thoughts and prayers to the Arjes family in this tie of sorrow. Darrel Lang

  10. Having grown up just a couple of blocks from Jim and Judy… We used to play pick up football in their backyard as kids. I know we hit their house with the football numerous times by accident. They didn’t care and continued to allow us kids to play there. Jim was a legend High School wrestling coach at Turkey Valley. He was a better person that demanded discipline, hard work and treating others with respect. If you didn’t, he would guide you in the right direction and you learned from him to do it the right way. He was fun to be around and he helped guide you in school so you could be successful and beneficial in life down the road. I have many memories of playing football in their backyard and of him being such a great person!! God Bless him… With deepest sympathy to Judy and the Arjes Family… Jon Smith Turkey Valley Class of ‘91

  11. Our deepest sympathy on your loss, our prayers and thoughts are with you. Larry and Diana Judisch

  12. Dear Jim’s Family, We send our love & we wish we could be there to give you all a hug.. Betty, Shelley &Gary, Patty &Duane, Sheila &families.

  13. Judy, I was so sorry to learn of Jim’s passing. I am Betty’s sister. I remember family gatherings where our families were brought together. We shared Betty and Roger’s children as our nieces and nephew. Jim and Jerry shared roofing and teaching stories. It was always a good time when we would get together. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Yvonne and Jerry Nichols

  14. I haven’t seen Jim in 40 years but well remember Jim as my track coach and phys-ed teacher back in the mid 1970’s at Turkey Valley. Just heard of his passing today. Ironically I was golfing at Waverly , IA Municipal Golf Course yesterday (first time) and right across from hole 6 was the Waverly-Shell Rock running track. That is where I ran my best mile ever and Jim was my coach in the spring of ’73. I remember him congratulating me after the race. My condolences to the friends and family. Jeff Secora

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