James C. Van Gronigen was born July 21, 1935, in Orange City, the son of Theodore and Grace H. (DeLint) Van Gronigen. From the starting of his schooling until his graduation, Jim traveled all over the world with his military father, attending different schools from Germany to Guam, with as many as five different schools in one year. Jim graduated from high school in Topeka, Kan.
He was united in marriage to Alberta M. Huisman Feb. 21, 1956, in Alton. In 1957, Jim began serving in the Army Reserve. He was honorably discharged in 1966, after attaining the rank of SFC E-7.
In August 1955, Jim began his career with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) at Fort Riley, Kan. Through the years, he was transferred to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs; K.I. Sawyer AFB in Michigan; Eglin AFB in Florida; Minot AFB in North Dakota; Camp Ederle in Vincenza, Italy; Fort Carson, Colorado; and Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. In September 1987 he retired, and in January 1988, moved to Le Mars.
Jim and Alberta owned and operated Jim's Fix It Shop, a small engine repair until July 1999, when he retired for the second time. Alberta died June 6, 2008.
Jim was a member of United Methodist Church of Le Mars.
He was a Master Mason in the Triangle Lodge #568 in Sioux City. He was also a member of the Scottish Rites Valley of Sioux City and secretary of the Floyd Lodge #537 in Orange City, for 13 years. He was also active in the Abu Bekr Shrine, having been involved in the "Hospital Dads" for many years.
Jim and Alberta enjoyed wintering in Texas after they retired. He enjoyed the times with his grandchildren before their tragic passing.
He volunteered his time transporting children to the Shriner's hospital in the Twin Cities and also the Houston Shriners Hospital while in Texas.
He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Survivors include his daughter, Carla (Loren) Nilson of Le Mars; a brother: Ted Van Gronigen and his special friend, Rose of Colorado Springs, Colo.; three sisters-in-law: Esther (Burdette) Ewoldt of Paullina, Audrey Huisman of Norfolk, Neb., and Marlys Huisman of Alton; a brother-in-law: Roger (Karen) Huisman of Saint Ignace, Mich.; a cousin: Perk van Gronigen of Canton, S.D.; and several nieces, nephews, and many good friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Alberta; a son: Gary Lee Van Gronigen, age 7; two grandsons: Kyle Evan Nilson, age 6, and Kole Andrew Nilson, age 3; and two brothers-in-law: David and Edward Huisman.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Monday at United Methodist Church of Le Mars with the Rev. Jason Larson officiating. Graveside services will be 1 p.m. Monday in Nassau Township Cemetery, rural Alton, with military rites conducted by the Wasmer American Legion Post 241 of Le Mars. Visitation with be after 4 p.m. Sunday, with the family present after 6 p.m., and prayer service at 7 p.m. followed by a Masonic Service, all at Carlsen Funeral Home in Le Mars. Visitation will resume from 9:30 a.m. until service time on Monday at the church.
Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through www.carlsenfuneralhome.com.