Herbert James (Jim) Mueller passed into the Lord’s Kingdom on November 12, 2020.
On November 19, 1930, Jim was born in a farmhouse 11 miles south and a little west of Bushnell, Nebraska in Kimball County, and was the firstborn to Herbert Frederick Oscar and Lillie Bertha Goesch Mueller. Oscar and Lillie went on to have three more children, Robert, William, and Alice. Jim's early years were filled with farming and raising cattle with his Dad acting as an experienced farmhand at a very young age, living through severe droughts and dustbowls during the mid-1930s, enjoying his horses and unbounded freedom on the farm. He was also a high school athlete who loved football, basketball, and baseball. He had never seen a basketball before his 9th-grade year and taught himself to play the game—a skill that later became important later in his life.
After experiencing a devastating financial loss from a severe hailstorm that destroyed his first major wheat crop, and with the growing Korean War conflict where he and his friends were sure that they would be drafted, Jim joined the Navy with five of high school friends in 1950. Following boot camp, Jim became a Personnelman (PN) assigned to the USS KLONDIKE (AD-22) homeported in San Diego. Outside of family, Jim's best reminiscing was the fun times he had with his Navy friends remaining close for the rest of their lives.
Jim met Shirlee Ann Johnson at the University of Denver (embarrassingly with his pant zipper down when they first met), and they married on September 1, 1957, at Messiah Lutheran Church in Denver. Jim always described Shirlee as his "Wonderful Lady" both as a wife and mother. Their lives centered on being servants of Jesus Christ and being part of His brilliant Light on earth to those around them. The past and current members and clergy of Cross of Glory Lutheran Church have been a significant part of their family for more than 56 years.
Jim's early professional career spanned insurance underwriting for several companies before becoming part-owner of several insurance companies in the Denver metro area. Jim moved on to owning his own utility construction company performing award-winning government work at Rocky Flats and Lowry Air Force Base. Jim and Shirlee purchased and operated an employment agency franchise in 1976, and in 1983 started their employment agency A*C*I*M Personnel Service in Lakewood, Colorado. Jim and Shirlee touched the lives of so many in the Denver metro area using this business as an extension of their Christian faith in helping people in any way they could.
Outside of work, one of Jim's passions was coaching basketball for underprivileged kids at Grant Middle School in Denver from the mid-1980s through the 1990s. His teams played in the Salvation Army Red Shield Center league, winning several championships and, more importantly, recognition as a team with great discipline and sportsmanship. Jim touched so many young lives while coaching that many of those athletes kept in touch with him throughout Jim's life, professing his incredible impact on their lives. Some went on to play basketball in the NCAA, including Division 1.
Jim's son's Todd and Troy were both heavily involved in sports throughout their lives, playing football, basketball, and baseball playing countless games. Before high school, Jim and his oldest son Tracy coached Todd and Troy in basketball and baseball. A remarkable fact is that Jim never missed one of his son's games—a proud fact he recalled his last day of life.
Jim's greatest gift to this world, although there were many, was the tremendous impact he had on everyone he met. Jim loved everyone—and enjoyed showing everyone how much he loved them. Tracy says that Jim "always wore the sandals of Jesus" in a disciplined manner in meeting Jesus' instruction to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Jim's children remember that he never passed someone on the side of the road needing assistance, even if it caused him to be late to wherever he was going. Jim personified his faith's teachings to the best of his ability, focusing his efforts on actions and deeds instead of words. He was a great teacher for his children and those he touched. Later in life, Tracy realized that Dad laid the bedrock for his faith that multiplied in the world through Tracy's life's work—loving everyone, including himself, for who they were.
Todd remembers many life's teaching moments throughout his childhood from his Dad. Each teaching moment came in the form of "a pearl of wisdom" so that Todd could take those pearls into his adulthood to best equip him to be the man his Dad expected Todd to be. Todd collected those pearls with not much thought but later realized that he would later share these "pearls of wisdom" with others at the most appropriate time. Some lessons were immediate. These "pearls" always centered on honesty, integrity, leadership, and humility. Todd remembers Dad as entirely unselfish and a man who lived life with full integrity.
Troy remembers his Dad teaching him the discipline of being self-aware, self-critical, and self-correcting. Troy learned from his Dad that performing at our God-given best wasn't an option but a requirement—in all things. Troy believes that Dad used to try to live through his eyes in his Navy work, quizzing him on small details to picture the story himself. Jim always wore Navy nuclear warship hats Troy gave him, wearing all of them out in short order. He loved wearing these hats in public to get people to stop and ask about it, causing that person to listen to the story of his three boys.
All of Jim's sons agree that Jim was the 4th "boy" in the household, and Pastor Mike says that Jim was the biggest kid in the church—even at 89! Jim loved and teased everyone he knew and met. His grandkids, nieces, and nephews were the love of his life, and he was always profoundly interested in their lives and accomplishments.
Jim was a long-time member and elected to positions including president of Kiwanis International in the Denver metro area. He embodied Kiwanis' ethos of "Serving the Children of the World" throughout his life. His Kiwanis clubs sponsored his teams at Grant Middle School and frequently had the kids speak to their group. Jim was a member of People Who Care, supporting at least two violent criminals upon their release from prison, helping them to get their lives back together again.
Jim's life on this earth has left an indelible fingerprint on the hearts and minds of every life he touched.
Jim is predeceased by his wife Shirlee and is survived by his son Tracy, his son Todd and his wife Billi, his son Troy and his wife Carla, his granddaughters Katie Mueller, Kaylee Mueller, Lisi Mueller, Ashley Mueller, Alyssa Hutchins and husband Jake, Laneya Hegarty and husband Taylor, Kate Orozco and husband Roberto, and Kara Handy, and great-grandchildren Genevieve Mueller, Dexton and Carson Hegarty, and Sofia and Vivianna Orozco.
Virtual services will be held 10 am, Monday, November 23rd.
Please cut and paste into a new browser window. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3037560735
The family welcomes flowers to be delivered or a donation in honor of Jim Mueller to Cross of Glory Lutheran Church (1991 S Oneida St, Denver, CO 80224).
To share a memory of Herbert or leave a special condolence message for his family, please click the Share Memories button above.