Esler, James Allen age 59 of Coon Rapids, MN passed away February 11, 2020. Preceded in death by grandparents. Jim was a research scientist, engineer, and he taught at St. Thomas University. Survived by wife, Linnell; sons, Mark (Morgan), and Ben; parents, John and Rosemary Esler; siblings, Ted (Annette), Kathryn (Leon) Richter, and Brad (Lisa); in-laws, Roger and Bonnie Hansen, Bruce and Lisa Wahoski, and Mitchell; nieces, nephews, and many friends. Memorial Service Monday, February 24, 2020 at 11 AM at Grace Evangelical Free Church, 755 - 73rd Ave NE, Fridley.
A trip to Interstate Park 2015.
Jim was dating my cousin, Linnell, in 1978 when I first met him. We were roommates in the house Linnell's parents owned in Coon Rapids. While I was away in the Army in Europe,Jim and Linnell got married. After the Army and college, I rented Jim and Linnell's basement apartment. During this time, Mark was born. It really tickled me to see Jim fawning over the boy. He really worked at being a Father. Mark and Ben are indeed fortunate to have had such a caring man as their Dad.
At the time, I was a starving pilot, working on my flight instructor certificate. Jim made me promise to teach him how to fly as soon as I was certified. It was a real pleasure flying with Jim because he was so smart and such a natural. After he took his check ride and became a certified pilot, I was shocked at how difficult subsequent students were to teach. Jim had me spoiled. It wasn't like instructing at all. We truly enjoyed our time together on the ground and in the air.
One day, while we were sitting in the kitchen talking, there was a knock at the door. Jim opened the door and there was a lady from a center for blind people. She had been told that Jim could likely help her. She asked him to come up with a device that allowed the blind to determine if their lights were on in their home. By 3pm, Jim had a working unit produced. It sounded like a Geiger counter. I was amazed.
It was about this time, I informed Jim and Linnell that I was off to Alaska to fly The Bush. Jim teared up a little and told me: "You're gonna freeze your noogies off!" When I get to heaven my first question to Jim will be: "What are noogies anyway?"
Over the years, we became like brothers. And that's how we addressed each other. When Sharon and I got married, Jim was my Best Man. Jim was an example of a person filled with agape and phillia love for others. He truly was an example of Christ's love for all people.
Jim taught me a lot about being generous, genuinely caring for people and being a good listener. He had a way of conveying that he actually did care about you.
You will be missed, my Brother. Blues skies and tailwinds.
Jim was a true friend. He was always willing to be a brother in the Lord giving of his time and willing to help out in any way he can. Jim impacted my life in many ways. I remember the many times he came over and we spent time talking on family things or I would have him look at a project I was working on that at times seemed impossible. He would say let me just look at it and then he said its going to be an easy fix if you just trust me and do what I tell you.
Jim will be missed. Our prayers are with all loved ones.
Pastor Bryan J. Buch
For the past 15 years Jim was a mentor to my family. He was generous with his time by volunteering with Camp Blessings. He tolerated my boys running around his house chasing his cat. Todd and I miss your quiet talks and wisdom. God bless!
I will forever remember the kindness and quiet mentorship Jim extended to those of us "up-and-comers" on the Spring Lake Park swim team in 1977! His expertise in both the backstroke and breaststroke left us wondering if we'd ever be able to fill those shoes. I will definitely remember one step further in my own life ... Jim was very muscular, and sank like a rock when he let his breath out. I needed to earn college money as a senior lifegaurd, but had to pass that test ... retrieval of a struggling victim. I had very little confidence in myself at 16, but to this day, though he definitely made me struggle when it was my turn to go get him, I still have an underlying feeling he "made sure" I passed that test. I will consider him an incredible mentor during my "formative" years, and am now going to miss him ... tremendously! Thank you so very much Jim. ... rest in peace pal!
Jim & Linnell Christmas of 2014
My dad introduced me to Jim in the early 2000s. My own daughter had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor and Jim came along side and has walked with me in that experience. It was uncommon to have a conversation and not hear "How are you?". We worked close enough so that we could have lunch periodically. Many a bowl of clam chowder, cheesy biscuits, and miscellaneous entrees were enjoyed together. He introduced me to Qfanatic and the Anchorage, and paintball. Jim had a knack for seeing situations with great clarity and proceeding to do something about it. I was constantly surprised with ideas he could come up with - a machine to fill plastic straws with honey as a treat; a way to create puffed rice cakes. He found his niche in the Maker's community. These were the ideas that came outside his work! He was a gifted engineer and it was amazing to hear the little bit he was allowed to tell me about his work with pacemakers. I will always be grateful for Jim’s friendship.
Jim Esler on top of Temple 4 in the Tikal ruins
Good memories w/Jim & Linnell
This past Monday, I lost a very good friend in Jim Esler. He impacted my life in a very positive way. We originally met at Emmanuel Christian Center while attending Men's Ministry in 2008 and became friends instantly. He helped me with a car, visited me at Adult & Teen Challenge, and introduced me to many new restaurants. Yes, Jim loved finding out of the mainstream "Treasure" restaurants like Q-Fanatic BBQ. He originated the "Keith Ellison Pork on Pork " sandwich at the Farmers Market so he had a great sense of humor as well! Jim loved figuring out how to make things work as evidenced by turning his home into a production center! He loved to hold city officials accountable for their actions and was really good at it! I am so pleased that Jim was a believer and now has a new and wonderful home! I will miss you Jim Esler and will not forget you! So many memories filled with laughter!!
At the farm 2018
Yesterday my big brother Jim lost his battle with brain cancer. He survived brain surgery and fought for 2 full years more. Jim was a fighter and always sought justice. At 9 years my senior he was always larger than life. An adventurer at heart he made many Quetico Park canoe voyages, he was a pilot, a sailor, scuba diver, and a motorcyclist. Jim was a star swimmer and had raced his bicycle 100 miles in an Ironman. He had a genius level IQ, 14 federal patents, and he designed pacemakers. Jim was a foodie and we had many great meals together. He could also be a tremendous pain in the ass. I love my brother and he loved me. We told each other as much often. I know it sounds cliche, but make sure you make extra time for those you love. Sooner or later they will exit your life.
To Linnell, Mark, Ben, and Jims parents and siblings and your families. May the Peace of the Lord be with you and you find peace knowing that for Jim to be absent from his body is to be eternally present with the Lord. Our thoughts and prays are with you as you work through the grieving process.
God Bless you all,
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