James ‘Jim’ Leroy Hoestje
James ‘Jim’ Leroy Hoestje, 81, passed away at home in Lenexa, KS, on May 12, 2020, after a long illness. Jim was the 2nd child of 5 born to John and Louise (Klutman) Hoestje, arriving on the Nebraska family farm on March 12, 1939. He was baptized and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Osmond, NE. After attending school in Osmond, NE, Jim began teaching at age 17 in a one-room schoolhouse in Pierce County and then Knox County. He then earned his B.S. degree from Concordia College in Seward, NE, and began teaching at Immanuel Lutheran School at Bremen, KS. There he met Phyllis Marie Kruse, the love of his life. His siblings remember how much he admired her after seeing her drive a tractor. After he started teaching at Zeandale, KS, he married Phyllis at Immanuel Lutheran Church at Bremen, KS, on June 1, 1969. They made their home in Wamego, KS, and were active in Mount Calvary Lutheran Church. He earned his M.S. at Kansas State University and began teaching at Wamego Elementary and later at Wamego Junior High School. They welcomed two children while living in Wamego. After retiring from teaching, Jim and Phyllis moved back to Bremen where he enjoyed returning to the Kruse family farm and being active in Immanuel Lutheran Church. Jim and Phyllis moved to Lenexa, KS, in 2016 to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Jim and Phyllis celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2019.
Jim loved spending time with his family and friends and working on projects with them. He enjoyed being outdoors in the country, fishing and hunting, camping, woodworking, gardening, tending to fruit trees, cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers, playing pitch and pinochle, and reading Louis L’Amour western novels. He spent many years leading Bible studies. Like all good teachers, he planted seeds of learning that continued to grow long after the school year ended. His intangible legacy to all those that knew him was his unwavering faith, his determination, his perseverance, his love and caring, and his perennial cheerful and playful nature with a side of stubbornness, despite his progressive debility from multiple sclerosis and then cancer. Even in the final months of his weakening condition, he would do his best to attend Sunday services at Trinity Lutheran Church-Shawnee. He made sure that his sweetheart knew how much he loved her for their final earthly Valentine’s Day.
Jim is survived by his wife Phyllis, his daughter Sara Hoestje and son John (Erin) Hoestje, and four grandchildren Elijah Hoestje, Lauren Hoestje, Kara Johnson, and Anna Johnson, all of Lenexa, KS; sisters Lois Gerdes of McLean, NE, and Linda (Jack) Hewitt of Pilger, NE; brothers Richard Hoestje (Pat Hulse) of Wahoo, NE, and Wil (Sue) Hoestje of Beloit, KS; sister-in-law Ruth Cooper of Perham, MN; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law Leonard Gerdes, sister-in-law Berneice Hoestje, and brother-in-law Denzil Cooper.
Due to the pandemic restrictions, the initial funeral will be limited to immediate family with plans for a celebration of life once we can all gather over food in Bremen, Kansas.
Memorial contributions may be made in Jim’s name to Immanuel Lutheran Church (570 3rd Rd, Bremen, KS 66412), Trinity Lutheran Church (5601 West 62nd St, Mission, KS 66202; tlcms.org), or to a charity of your choice.