James "Jim" Raymond Mergens

James "Jim" Raymond Mergens

James “Jim” Raymond Mergens, 80, of Bemidji died Thursday, August 15, 2019 under the care of Sanford Bemidji Hospice after a 10 year battle with cancer. He was born to Raymond and Eva Marie (Sherry) Mergens on June 22, 1939 in St. Paul. He was a stand-out football player at both Cretin High School, graduating in 1957, and the University of St. Thomas, graduating with majors in English and Physical Education. He would go on to finish a Master’s Degree in Education at Bemidji State University and positively impact the lives of countless students and young athletes in Bemidji and beyond. He married Karen Mary Wagner on December 30,1961 in St. Paul and by 1972 convinced her to move to Bemidji to attend BSU. He promised it would only be for “a couple of years”. They settled on a cabin on Lake Movil in 1972 and lived there until he reluctantly moved to WindSong in March 2019. He began his teaching at Bagley Elementary but spent most of his career teaching special education (EBD) at Riverside School in the Bemidji School District, ending as Bemidji High School Athletic Director before retiring in 1998. He helped establish the Lumberjack Scramble, a main fundraiser for BHS athletics. He coached the Bemidji High School Boy’s Golf Team for five years to two state championships, and the Bemidji State University Women’s Golf Team to a conference championship. He taught hundreds of children to cross country ski through the Sunday Ski School. He had an extensive amount of training and education in elementary reading strategies and spent his retirement volunteering daily in Teresa Colligan's second grade classroom at J.W. Smith Elementary. He loved being outdoors in all seasons - walleye and crappie fishing on Lake Movil, bicycling with his wife Karen, canoeing and camping in the BWCA with his grandchildren, cross-country skiing at Three Island Park and the Movil Maze, trout fishing on the Clearwater River and golfing at Bemidji Town and Country Club. He was a voracious reader, devouring several books a week. He loved the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. He enjoyed journaling and writing poetry and loved to teach children the joy of reading and writing. Although not a fan at first, he learned to appreciate the game of soccer, watching his grandchildren and the Lumberjacks play locally and cheering on the U.S Women’s National Team on television. He will be remembered for his sarcasm and quick wit. He is survived by his wife, Karen; daughter Sherry (Rick Toward) Mergens; granddaughters Hana, Harper and Masresha Toward and grandson Al Toward; brothers Patrick Mergens of New Washington, Indiana and Paul Mergens of Burnsville, Minnesota and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ray and Eva Mergens, and a niece, Leah Mergens. A celebration of Jim’s life will take place on Tuesday, August 20, from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m., with a time of sharing at 1:30, at Bemidji Town and Country Club. The family prefers memorials to flowers; please consider Bemidji High School Athletics or Sanford Bemidji Hospice.
June 22, 1939 - August 15, 201906/22/193908/15/2019
Recommend James "Jim"'s obituary to your friends.

Share Obituary

Share a memory

Add to your memory
Photos/Video
Candle
Mementos

Obituary

James “Jim” Raymond Mergens, 80, of Bemidji died Thursday, August 15, 2019 under the care of Sanford Bemidji Hospice after a 10 year battle with cancer. He was born to Raymond and Eva Marie (Sherry) Mergens on June 22, 1939 in St. Paul. He was a stand-out football player at both Cretin High School, graduating in 1957, and the University of St. Thomas, graduating with majors in English and Physical Education. He would go on to finish a Master’s Degree in Education at Bemidji State Univers...

Read more

Events

Aug
20
Visitation
https://s3.amazonaws.com/tribute-archive/images/Visitation.svg
08/20/2019 01:00 PM08/20/2019 03:00 PM Tuesday, August 20 2019
01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Bemidji Town and Country Club
Visitation
2425 Birchmont Beach Road
Bemidji, Minnesota 56601
United States
Get Directions
View MapTextEmail
There will be a time of sharing beginning at 1:30pm.