Obituary Listings

James Stilwell

November 24, 1937 December 15, 2018
James Stilwell
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Obituary for James Stilwell

Jim Stilwell, 81, died peacefully on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, at Green Hills Retirement Community in Ames with his daughter at his side.
Jim was born Nov. 24, 1937, in Mason City, to Norman Clyde Stilwell and Dorothy Verna “Dolly” (James) Stilwell, the oldest of two children. Jim grew up on Mason City’s “south-side” but also lived in Ipava, Ill., and went to Kindergarten in Kearney, Neb., while his father worked in bomber airplane facilities during World War II. When the family moved back to Mason City, he attended Roosevelt Elementary and Roosevelt junior high schools.
He attended Mason City High School where he excelled in his love of sports, lettering in football, basketball and baseball. As a sophomore, he played third base on Mason City’s American Legion team that won the 1954 Iowa American Junior Legion State Championship (when “Legion Ball” was the dominant high school format in the country). That team took the train to regionals (Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma) final play in Altus, Okla. The Iowa team bowed out in the first-round game against the Maplewood, Mo., team in 113-degree heat. As a senior third baseman, his Elmer Starr-coached Mohawk team won the 1956 Iowa state championship downing Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson 2-1.
After graduation from Mason City, he earned a partial football scholarship to Iowa State Teachers College (later UNI), he played guard and linebacker under head coach “Buck” Starbeck his freshman and sophomore year. Bill Hammer took over for his junior and senior years. Hammer brought in line coach Stan Sheriff, who was Jim’s position coach in 1958 and 1959. Jim, who was also a member of Phi Sigma Kappa graduated from ISTC in 1960 with a major in education and a minor in biology. He earned a master’s degree in education several years later from Mankato State.
Jim’s first job was as a high school teacher at St. Ansgar High School, teaching biology and driver’s education. He was head football coach from 1960-65 (pre-playoffs) compiling an overall 31-15-2 record and helped the Saints win the school’s first conference championship, of many to follow, in 1963. He was the head baseball coach from 1961-64 at St. Ansgar compiling an overall 24-12 mark. He was also assistant wrestling coach during his time at St. Ansgar.
Jim began teaching physical education in Ames School district in September 1966 starting out at Lincoln Elementary. He subsequently taught at Beardshear, Whittier, Edwards and eventually Meeker Elementary. He also “split time” at Crawford, Fellows and Roosevelt.
During his time in the Ames School District, he also coached junior high football and wrestling at Central Junior High School.
When Phil Johnson took over the Ames High baseball team, Jim became his top assistant. The staff compiled a 153-59 record from 1986-91, never falling below 22 wins in those six seasons. The 1987 squad qualified for the state tournament and the 1988 squad finished runner-up. Of the 14 seniors on the 1987 squad, 13 went on to play college baseball. Jim retired from the Ames School District in 1995.
Jim was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Mason City growing up, and a member of St. John’s Episcopal by the Campus in Ames when he lived in Ames. He also attended St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Des Moines when he resided in Beaverdale.
He enjoyed attending Iowa State football games and wrestling meets. He coached little league baseball (two AAA division winners) and Ames flag football teams (City champions in 1974-75). He started a youth wrestling club in the mid-70’s. Neighborhood kids loved playing football and baseball in his backyard on Jewel Drive. In the winter, he could be seen towing kids on snow-packed gravel roads with a saucer tied to the bumper. Many kids thought of him as the “oldest kid on the block.” He enjoyed swimming with his kids and later his grandchildren. He liked to travel and enjoyed wintering in Florida and southern Nevada for several years.
He enjoyed attending his grandson’s sporting events and sitting around a campfire with his kids and grandkids no matter the temperature.
He is survived by his children, Todd James Stilwell, of Ames (grandchildren James Kade Stilwell and Kya Theron Stilwell), Tori Jeanne Shahidi, of Ames (grand-children Toran Robert Shahidi, Tavan Robert Shahidi and Tynan Robert Shahidi) and Nickole Stilwell Modglin, of West Des Moines (grandchildren Conor Quinn Modglin and Nolan Shea Modglin). He is also survived by his sister, Susan Jane Joynt (Jim), of Clear Lake, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Wednesday

19

Dec

5:00 PM 12/19/2018 5:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 12/19/2018 7:00:00 PM
Adams Funeral Home & Cremation Service

502 Douglas Avenue
Ames, IA 50010

Adams Funeral Home & Cremation Service
502 Douglas Avenue Ames 50010 IA
United States

Celebration of Life

Thursday

20

Dec

10:30 AM 12/20/2018 10:30:00 AM - 11:30 AM 12/20/2018 11:30:00 AM
St. John's Episcopal Church

2338 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50014

St. John's Episcopal Church
2338 Lincoln Way Ames 50014 IA
United States
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