James “Jim” Nagel was born in St. Louis, MO, on October 15, 1951. He grew up in Affton, MO, at 8020 Colleen Ave. He was a member of the Boy Scouts with childhood friends Kerry Thompson and John Goodman. He participated in the marching band at Affton High School and graduated in 1969.He went on to Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO, where he became a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity and the Golden Eagles Marching Band and sold ads for the Capaha Arrow newspaper. He was even able to perform with the band at the 1971 Super Bowl in Miami, FL. He graduated in 1973 with a social studies teaching degree and moved home to St. Louis to begin his career.
He was hired by the Mehlville School District to teach 7th and 8th grade social studies at Margaret Buerkle Junior High School. When an opening a Mehlville High School became available, he jumped at the chance, and not only taught hundreds of kids there, but also established the largest student activities program (Student Council) in the country and coordinated appearances of David Copperfield, Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger), and Ozzie Smith to showcase positive role models.
In 1985, Jim left teaching to begin a new adventure in Association Management. His first stop was the Missouri Association of Homes for the Aging, followed by the American Soybean Association where he was the 1997 ASAE Recruiter of the Year, then Equipment Dealers’ Foundation, a brief stint working with the fabulous “Bender Boys” at Bender Graphics, and finally Optimist International, where he developed a marketing strategy that increased membership for the first time in 16 years.
On December 27, 1997, his life was forever changed for the better when he married the love of his life, Bonnie. They spent 21 years traveling all over to places such as Captiva, Las Vegas, Napa, England and Ireland this past fall, and especially their favorite places, New Orleans and Bonnie’s hometown of Brewster, MN. Jim loved Bonnie’s brothers, Mike, John, Tom, and Ron, like they were his own and talked to them often, if not daily.
Throughout his life, Jim was passionate about magic. He was a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and was even elected International President from 1992 to 1993. He has met incredible friends, Bill and Becki Wells, Pete Biro, Bill Spooner, and Karl Grice, and traveled the world.
Jim was an avid Disney lover, taking his daughters, Sarah and Courtney, to Disney World multiple times and even attending the “Disney Approach to People Management” training course in Orlando. He was a voracious reader throughout his life with a vast home library, mostly filled with history, biography, and magic. Music was another constant in his life. Music was constantly playing in his home from one of his many CDs, and he was still averaging 1-2 concerts a year.
Jim spent his last few years enjoying his retirement by spending time with Bonnie, his daughters and son-in-law Brian, his two grandsons, Cole and Luke, and granddog, Clementine. He relished his time with each of them and is missed so much.
Donations in memory of Jim can be made to the American Hydrocephalus Association:
The Hydrocephalus Association Development Office
4340 East West Highway, #905
Bethesda, MD 20814-4447
Services: A Funeral Service will be held at KUTIS AFFTON CHAPEL, 10151 Gravois Rd., Saturday, April 21, 12 Noon. Visitation Friday, 4-8 p.m.