In Memory

Jim VanAernam

Jim VanAernam

James (Jim) Van Aernam passed away Friday, May 14, 2021 from complications of diabetes.  He was born January 1, 1951 in Lake Charles, LA.  He came to Irving High School his junior year (1967-1968) when his family moved to Irving from DeRidder, LA.  Though he was shy and uneasy in the beginning, he made friends easily and became part of the fabric of the Class of '69.  He did a paper route on his motorcycle and was always quick to mention that Mr Wilson (the math teacher) was on his route.  He worked after school and weekends at Sears with classmate Rick Craft.  Following  graduation, he enlisted in the Navy serving his tour in Viet Nam on the USS Enterprise. He returned to his family in Irving, earned a degree in Psychology from UTA, and spent his career in logistics with Central Freight, then later as a home builder in the DFW area with a three year stint in between teaching English in Italy.  His most treasured life experiences were his motorcycle trips with friends and those years in Italy with Marsha (Anderson).  Retirement led him to Arkansas, to the peaceful foothills of the Ouachita Mountains where he enjoyed his home in the woods.   He fed the deer from his deck and watched the baby foxes that lived under his driveway.  He was always up for a day trip to some small town in the middle of nowhere, or to the ends of the earth to shop for yarn with Stacey (Martin).  He was deeply committed to family and friends and is missed by all.  He is survived by his brother Bill (Joan) Van Aernam, sister Kay Bell, nephews Michael (Brandy) Van Aernam and Conor (Kathleen) Bell.

A celebration of Jim's life is planned at his home in Hot Springs Village, AR.  Details will be available in the coming weeks.

Please keep Stacey and Jim's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

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05/19/21 07:10 PM #1    

Salty Galvis

Jim was truly a good guy and a good friend, frequently exploring ways to help others.  I was fond of Jim and will miss him.  My thoughts and prayers are with Jim, all his family, Stacey and Marsha.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


05/19/21 09:00 PM #2    

Chuck May

I barely knew Jim in high school, but came to know him well over the last 15-20 years, mainly through working on the reunions together.

As Salty said, Jim was a GREAT guy, and I for one will miss him dearly!

Stacey, you are in my thoughts and prayers.


05/20/21 12:15 PM #3    

Darrell Sekin

I really enjoyed getting to reconnect with and work with Jim on the 50 year reunion.  He was such an easy going guy who seemed to just let the world slide off of those big shoulders.  Condolences to Stacy and the rest of Jim's family.




05/20/21 12:48 PM #4    

Cindy Peace (Stone)


You will be greatly missed at the next reunion. I enjoyed our conversations over the years and getting to know your kindness and compassion for friends and family. A special thank you for your service to our country. I know as you reached Heaven's Gates that you heard the words "well done, true and faithful servant." You will be remembered in our hearts and memories. Cindy (Peace) Stone

05/21/21 10:14 AM #5    

Jerry Hatridge

I didn't know Jim in high school, but we connected while working on the 40th Reunion.  Besides working together n reunions, we occassionally met for breakfast or lunch and just talked.  Jim was a great guy, and he will be missed by all of us in this world.  He is in God's embrace now.

05/21/21 01:17 PM #6    

Mike Fairchild

Wow!  I did not know he was so ill.  Jim and I had a great time riding motorcycles and joking with each other.  I an truly saddened by this news.  Stacy, Jim was a great guy and I will miss him.

05/22/21 10:35 AM #7    

Maggi Miller

I met Jim in Spanish class where he began a long career in making me laugh. I invited him to be my date to the Sadie Hawkins party and a 52-year friendship was cemented. We exchanged letters during his Service and we kept our connection  as we both went down our different paths. I never missed a chance to answer his calls because they were sure to offer his unique perspective and expansive trove of information. I will miss him and his big laugh and his mischievous sense of humor. But most of all, I will miss his thoughtfulness. Rest in peace, dear friend.

05/22/21 05:06 PM #8    

Shirley Perry (Russell)

I didn't know Jim well in high school but when my husband I attended my 40th reunion that year Jim joined us at our table and welcomed us and told us he was glad we could make it.  We had some good conversation about Irving back in the day and enjoyed our visit.  I found him to be very personable and friendly.  Rest In Peace Class of '69 friend.  You will be missed.

05/26/21 01:39 AM #9    

Sheila Miller (Tellez)

I met Jim for the first time at the 45th Reunion.  He was so kind and easy to talk to. I was so saddened to learn of his passing.  A Great guy and Loved by all that knew him.  I'm Thankful our 'paths crossed'.  Prayers for Stacey and all of his family.  Sincerely, Sheila Miller Tellez from Phoenix, AZ.

03/29/22 09:49 AM #10    

Cindi (Cynthia) Dixon

Jim was so helpful with the planning of our 40th, 45th & 50th Class of '69 reunions. He had a quiet presence & a dry wit that sometimes took me by surprise. I didn't know him in high school, but enjoyed working with him & seeing him at our 1st Saturday Lunches (El Fenix). Here - he & Stacey Martin facilitated in the sales of our 'special blend' commemorative wine. '1969 Roar.' Rest in Power, Jim. You are missed. 

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