Jim was born in Chicago, Illinois on Might 1, 1927. He grew up and went to highschool in Oak Park, Illinois. He was a wonderful musician taking part in many devices: string, brass and keyboard. He was thought of among the best cornet gamers within the Chicago space. His important pursuits in addition to music had been artwork and journalism. Oak Park Excessive Faculty additionally graduated Ernest Hemingway.
After highschool commencement in 1945 Jim entered the US Navy and was coaching on an LST on the west coast when the conflict ended. Jim attended Grinnell Faculty in Iowa the place he acquired a BA majoring in artwork. Jim then taught highschool in Ames, Iowa. He attended the College of Iowa and acquired an MA in Artwork Historical past and MFA (Grasp of Fantastic Arts) on the high of his class.
Jim taught artwork at Cornell Faculty in Iowa for a number of years from 1953-55 throughout which era he met his future spouse Nedra Thorsrud Riebe of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Jim and Nedra had been married August 19, 1954. Jim was a voracious reader and Nedra stated to him concerning Alaska, “You might be all the time studying and speaking about it, let’s go!” So within the spring of 1955 Jim, Nedra, Thor, and a scholar from Alaska Mary Joanne Thompson headed to Alaska in a Jeep and a Frazier Vagabond. Since Mary was from Kenai, that’s the place they went, and stayed the summer season in Stan Thompson’s (future borough mayor) seaside shack beneath Kenai on Cook dinner Inlet. Jim obtained concerned in Cook dinner Inlet business salmon fishing that summer season and on the finish of the season purchased the Mabel E an previous wood cannery boat from Seldovia Bay Packers.
After instructing another 12 months at Cornell Faculty, the household returned to Alaska to fish and stayed. Jim taught two years 1956-1958 at Anchorage Excessive Faculty (at the moment West Excessive). Jim and Nedra then homesteaded on Bishop Lake in Nikiski, Alaska and Jim taught English and artwork at Kenai Central Excessive Faculty. He later coached the basketball workforce till 1974 and for a few years Jim loved taking part in on a Kenai metropolis league basketball workforce, the Harborview Hogs.
Jim continued to color. Nedra and Jim traveled to Malaga, Spain the place Jim took a sabbatical to check stone lithography in 1970-71.
They moved completely to the brand new home and studio on Bishop and Marie Lakes after the loop street was constructed in 1971 in Nikiski. Along with instructing at Kenai Central Excessive, independently Jim taught a number of grownup artwork lessons. Jim’s artwork work was displayed in quite a few galleries and exhibits in Alaska together with the Anchorage Museum, the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Customer Heart, the Kenai Fantastic Artwork Heart, and within the decrease 48 states. Jim served on the Alaska State Council on the Arts from 2004-6 and the Alaska Modern Artwork Financial institution holds a number of of his works.
Jim remained very energetic in fishing, portray and lithography after his highschool instructing retirement. He requested Thor to design and Kevin Moren to construct the Nedra E an aluminum boat which he fished to his fishing retirement in 1994. At the moment Jim offered the Nedra E to his nephew Chuck who later offered it to Jim’s grandson Taylor; that very a lot happy Jim and Nedra. Jim additionally turned concerned within the politics of economic fishing serving on the United Cook dinner Inlet Drift Affiliation (UCIDA) and the United Fishermen of Alaska. Jim was the primary UCIDA President serving from 1981-1985.
Jim and Nedra had been concerned within the United Methodist Church and the neighborhood in Kenai. In 2004 Jim and Nedra donated a portion of their homestead on Marie Lake to the Nikiski Seniors to construct senior flats and the Nikiski Senior Heart. The homestead was Jim’s favourite place on earth. He beloved the folks of the Kenai space and had many associates. One in every of his favourite actions was taking part in banjo in jam classes within the Kenai and Soldotna space.
Jim’s participation was requested on many boards and committees across the state the place his contributions had important impression. He was admired by many and extensively revered by each associates and foes in his quite a few posts starting from highschool basketball coach to President of UCIDA. His council was welcome on account of his equity, his sensitivity to and appreciation of the considerations of all, an all too uncommon penchant in an more and more divided world. He naturally guided all dialogue to the subsequent degree. He was a pillar of his much-loved neighborhood. Jim was a beneficiant, delicate, and gifted man who’s vastly missed.
Jim was survived by his beloved spouse Nedra, who then handed this Might 28, 2021; his son Thor Evenson and grandson Taylor Evenson all of Anchorage; his nephew Chuck Thorsrud of Homer and his household; and his sister Kathryn Barnett, 90, of Nampa, Idaho, her 4 kids Ron, Dave, Tom, & Jenny, and their prolonged households.
Family and friends, please be part of us for a celebration of Jim and Nedra’s lives this summer season on Sunday, August 22th at 1pm on the household homestead in Nikiski. Please PLEASE RSVP: 907-274-4242 or [email protected]
In lieu of flowers, the household requests any donations in Jim’s honor be made to the United Methodist Church of Kenai, the Kenai Fantastic Arts Heart, and United Cook dinner Inlet Drifters Affiliation. Thanks!
Printed by Peninsula Clarion on Jul. 4, 2021.