James D. “Jim” Kurtzhals, 87, passed away on Monday, November 15, 2021 at Jasper Memorial Hospital.
He was born on December 20, 1933 in Coleridge, Nebraska, son of the late Leonard and Clara (Janssen) Kurtzhals.
Jim was a 1951 graduate of the former Coleridge High School. He worked the family farm with his father and brothers until 1954 when he entered the U.S. Army. Jim served as an aircraft mechanic in the United States and in northern Germany. Upon exiting the Army in 1956, Jim returned to the family farm for a short stint before departing for college in early 1957.
Jim studied mechanical engineering at one of the top engineering schools of that era – Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) where he graduated in 1961. Jim’s first engineering job was with Swift and Company in Calumet City, IL. Jim also worked for Montgomery Ward, Ford Motor Company, and The Celotex Corporation while living in Illinois.
A job transfer with The Celotex Corporation in April 1969 brought Jim to northern Indiana.
Jim was united in marriage on June 27, 1970, to Shirley A. Beaver of Michigan City, IN and the couple soon settled in North Manchester, IN.
An engineering job with General Electric in Tell City brought Jim, Shirley, and their growing family to Perry County in 1978. While working for GE, Jim raised cattle on the Bristow farm, and maintained the family farm in Nebraska, as well as, the farm in North Manchester. Jim retired from GE in 1997.
Jim was an avid hunter and an expert marksman. He was proud of his long-standing memberships with the Knights of Columbus and the National Rifle Association. Jim was once a private pilot – taking lessons and earning his license at what is now Midway International Airport in Chicago, IL.
Jim is survived by his wife Shirley and his children, Aaron Kurtzhals of Lincoln, NE, Lisa Kurtzhals of Colorado Springs, CO, Kurt Kurtzhals of North Manchester, IN, Beth Shillington (Steve) of Orion, IL, and Geory Kurtzhals of Bloomington, IN; his grandchildren, Nicolas Shillington, Margaret Kurtzhals, and Anna Kurtzhals; his brother Leonard “Ole” Kurtzhals of Dallas, TX; his sister Kathi Maier of Papillion, NE; his sister-in-law Carol Kurtzhals of Yankton, SD; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Preceding him in death, besides his parents, were a brother Robert “Bob” Kurtzhals in 2008, a grandson, Alexander Michael Shillington in 2009, brother-in-law, Gene Maier in 2000 and sister-in-law, Rita Kurtzhals in 1996.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 AM CST on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at St. Isidore Catholic Church. Rev. Adrian Burke will officiate. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with military rites conducted by St. Meinrad American Legion Post #366.
Masks are preferred by the family at church.
Visitation will be Saturday from 9:30 until 11:00 AM at the church.
Huber Funeral Home, Tell City Chapel is assisting the family with his arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Isidore Cemetery and/or Building Fund.
To send flowers to Jim's family, please visit our floral store.