James William “Jim”
Ertel, 92, died at 10:52 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at home -
University Place in West Lafayette, Indiana. Jim was born at home on October
5, 1924 in Tipton, Indiana. He was the son of Edward and Josephine (Cook)
Jim was a
successful athlete. He played on the Tipton High School Basketball team and
was a 3 year all-conference player at Tipton and considered one of the early
1940's top pivotmen. Jim made the All-Sectional team three times, the
All-Regional team twice, and then All-Semi-State team once. He was named to
1942 Indiana All-Star team his senior year. Jim and one other player were
the tallest Indiana high school basketball players at 6’ 4”. He earned his
nickname “Big Red”. Jim was added to the Tipton High School Wall of Fame in
He attended Purdue
University on a basketball scholarship and played basketball for Purdue
until he enlisted in the Army Air Force during WWII. After the war ended, he
returned to finish his BS degree in Math, Chemistry & Physics and earned two
letters playing basketball for Purdue. Jim loved being a Purdue Boilermaker.
He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990.
On June 19, 1946,
Jim married Betty Mae “Chick” Girard in Tipton, IN. In their 70 years of
marriage, they lived mostly in Indiana. Except for two years in Lexington,
Kentucky, they lived in Tipton, Gary (Miller Beach), Chesterton and
Lafayette. In 2012, they moved back to where they first lived Đ West
Jim’s Dad was the
owner of the Ertel Bottling Works in Tipton. In his youth, Jim spent many
hours working with his Dad to make and deliver Ertel’s Pop. All his life Jim
loved root beer! He also worked with Chick’s Dad, Roy Girard, owner of the
Tipton Hatchery. Jim taught chemistry, physics and advanced science at the
high school and college levels. He also coached high school basketball. He
earned his masters degree from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. The work
Jim cherished was rewarded each time a former student shared how having Mr.
Ertel as a teacher made a difference in their life.
Jim is survived by
his wife, Chick, and their five children, James Michael Ertel and his wife
Pat, Joseph Alan Ertel and his wife Jean, Carol Ann Ertel King and her
husband Jerry, Andrew Edward Ertel and his wife Donna, and Marylou Ertel.
They have four grandchildren, Joe and Heather Ertel, Jon and Amy (Ertel)
Summers, Jim and Michelle Ertel and Andy King; five step grandchildren,
Heather, Robyn, Kathy, Matt and Charlie.
He is also survived
by six great-grandchildren, Hanna, Gretchen, Audrey, Grant, James and Noah
and seven step great-grandchildren, Jackson, Benjamin, Colin, Elyse, Graham,
Lena and Deven. One brother, Mark Ertel, and three sisters, Betty Moore,
Rita Cage and Joann Stodgell, are deceased.
Jim was a
jack-of-all-trades. He repaired anything and everything, using parts from
broken objects stored in his workshop. In 1977, Jim and Chick finished the
complete construction of their home in Chesterton. Jim thoroughly enjoyed
spending time with friends, including his life-long friends from the 1942
Tipton Basketball team. In retirement, they wintered in Lakeland, Florida,
and played many rounds of golf.
But Jim’s greatest
joy in life was to spend time with Chick and his family.
A Funeral Mass will
be held at 10:00 a.m., on Saturday, April 29, at St. Thomas Aquinas
(Purdue), 535 West State Street, West Lafayette with Fr. Patrick Baikauskas,
O.P. officiating. Visitation with Jim’s family will begin at 9:00 a.m. on
Saturday at the church.
Jim will be buried
at St. John’s Cemetery, Tipton, at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, with
military honors. Young-Nichols Funeral Home, Tipton, is in charge of the
The family wishes
that in lieu of flowers memorial donations in Jim’s memory be made to either
the John Purdue Club, c/o Purdue Foundation, 403 W. Wood Street, West
Lafayette, Indiana, 47907 or St. Thomas Aquinas (Purdue), 535 West State
Street, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47906.