James ‘Jim’ Leroy Hoestje


James ‘Jim’ Leroy Hoestje, 81, passed away at home in Lenexa, KS, on May 12, 2020, after a long illness. Jim was the 2nd child of 5 born to John and Louise (Klutman) Hoestje, arriving on the Nebraska family farm on March 12, 1939. He was baptized and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Osmond, NE. After attending school in Osmond, NE, Jim began teaching at age 17 in a one-room schoolhouse in Pierce County and then Knox County. He then earned his B.S. degree from Concordia College in Seward, NE, and began teaching at Immanuel Lutheran School at Bremen, KS. There he met Phyllis Marie Kruse, the love of his life. His siblings remember how much he admired her after seeing her drive a tractor. After he started teaching at Zeandale, KS, he married Phyllis at Immanuel Lutheran Church at Bremen, KS, on June 1, 1969. They made their home in Wamego, KS, and were active in Mount Calvary Lutheran Church. He earned his M.S. at Kansas State University and began teaching at Wamego Elementary and later at Wamego Junior High School. They welcomed two children while living in Wamego. After retiring from teaching, Jim and Phyllis moved back to Bremen where he enjoyed returning to the Kruse family farm and being active in Immanuel Lutheran Church. Jim and Phyllis moved to Lenexa, KS, in 2016 to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Jim and Phyllis celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2019.

Jim loved spending time with his family and friends and working on projects with them. He enjoyed being outdoors in the country, fishing and hunting, camping, woodworking, gardening, tending to fruit trees, cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers, playing pitch and pinochle, and reading Louis L’Amour western novels. He spent many years leading Bible studies. Like all good teachers, he planted seeds of learning that continued to grow long after the school year ended. His intangible legacy to all those that knew him was his unwavering faith, his determination, his perseverance, his love and caring, and his perennial cheerful and playful nature with a side of stubbornness, despite his progressive debility from multiple sclerosis and then cancer. Even in the final months of his weakening condition, he would do his best to attend Sunday services at Trinity Lutheran Church-Shawnee. He made sure that his sweetheart knew how much he loved her for their final earthly Valentine’s Day.

Jim is survived by his wife Phyllis, his daughter Sara Hoestje and son John (Erin) Hoestje, and four grandchildren Elijah Hoestje, Lauren Hoestje, Kara Johnson, and Anna Johnson, all of Lenexa, KS; sisters Lois Gerdes of McLean, NE, and Linda (Jack) Hewitt of Pilger, NE; brothers Richard Hoestje (Pat Hulse) of Wahoo, NE, and Wil (Sue) Hoestje of Beloit, KS; sister-in-law Ruth Cooper of Perham, MN; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law Leonard Gerdes, sister-in-law Berneice Hoestje, and brother-in-law Denzil Cooper.


Due to the pandemic restrictions, the initial funeral will be limited to immediate family with plans for a celebration of life once we can all gather over food in Bremen, Kansas.

Memorial Contributions

Memorial contributions may be made in Jim’s name to Immanuel Lutheran Church (570 3rd Rd, Bremen, KS 66412), Trinity Lutheran Church (5601 West 62nd St, Mission, KS 66202; tlcms.org), or to a charity of your choice.



  1. Teresa Menhusen Whitlock on May 21, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Mrs. Hostjie I took Spanish I at Wamego High my sophomore year. Sure enjoyed you as a teacher. Class of 1976.

  2. jerry Thomsen on May 21, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    I was a classmate of Jim at Osmond High School. My birthday was 3 days ahead of his. We were good friends in high school. Many deep talks with him at that time. Had a great 50th class reunion. A very caring person his whole life. My prayers are with you and your family. God Bless

  3. Roger Seymour on May 20, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    I was one of Jim’s students at Zeandale. We had a four room grade school . Our class room was 6th , 7th , and 8 th grade. I remember when the PTO had a party for Jim and his wife to be. He was given a wheel barrow and had to eheel Phillis around the parking lot. He enjoyed teaching and loved when the light bulb went on with his students.

  4. Steven Bellinder on May 20, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    I will always remember having him show his slides of the vacations that him and his family took to other countries. He was always proud to show them to us students in his social studies classes and talk about the different cultures they visited.

  5. Bonnie (Smith) Lipke on May 20, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    Seventh grade social studies home room teacher. Among the many things I remember about him was his ability to seemingly have eyes in the back of his head. Not much got past him. Rest peacefully, Sir.

  6. Rick Lough on May 20, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Dear Phyllis so sorry to hear this. Prayers for you and your family. I remember the good old days back at Zeandale when Jim was teaching us many things not only in the classroom but in nature also. I remember going hunting with him and Dan Kleiner another classmate there in Zeandale. He was a great instructor in handling 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in the same small classroom setting. He will be missed. Sincerely Rick Lough.

  7. Rich and Ruth Schotte on May 20, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Jim will be missed by all of us at Immanuel. He always had a clever comeback and showed his dauntless faith in his Savior. We were blessed to have him as a teacher and friend. His Lord welcomes him with “Well done thou good and faithful servant”,

  8. Mary Kay (Funk) Henry on May 20, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Prayers are with each of you during this time of remembering Jim with his many talents and his love of life. Cherish those wonderful memories.

  9. Lori Saving on May 20, 2020 at 6:50 am

    Dear family of Jim,
    What an amazing life, well lived for his family and God’s kingdom here in earth, To God be the glory great things he did in Jesus’ name. We all look forward to our heavenly home with Him and tending garden with Jim.

  10. Rich & Dinah Rodehorst on May 19, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    Dinah and I were among his many Bible study groups when we lived in Wamego.
    Those are some cherished moments.
    May you find comfort in knowing he is at peace.

  11. Dennis and Carol (Schaefer) Dellinger on May 19, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    Dennis and I are sorry for your loss. We are praying that God will ease the pain you are feeling. Sincerely, Dennis and Chris Dellinger

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