Jim Bryngelson, age 77, passed away in Bellingham, WA on Wednesday, November 21 after a heart attack. Jim was surrounded by his loving family sharing memories and telling favorite stories of the dynamic, purposeful, and joyous life Jim led with them in Colorado, Montana, and Washington and during their many world travel adventures together.
Jim loved the outdoors and exuded a spirit for adventure and new experiences. He cherished sharing his passions with his friends and family including camping, skiing, rafting, hiking, golfing, and walking along the Yellowstone River and the Rimrocks in Billings and the Arroyo Trail and Taylor Dock in Bellingham with his faithful dog Buddy. He enjoyed being an amateur magician and putting on family performances at Christmas with his grandchildren and son-in-law.
Always in tune with adolescents, Jim led a career in education and counseling, earning a Masters Degree in Counseling from Purdue University and a Doctorate in Education from University of Colorado.
His friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and community members remember him fondly for his generosity, authenticity, curiosity, love of learning, love of teaching, and pure love for others. Jim was drawn to a life of service both personally, and professionally. He engaged with his community in many ways, seeing and respecting all, and lending a hand whenever he could.
Most recently Jim was excited to be part of his church community establishing The Promise program to support families transitioning from homelessness. Truly a “kid at heart”, Jim also loved being welcomed into the Options High School community as “Hot Cocoa Jim” where he made connections and welcomed students every Monday.
Jim and his wife of 49 years, Judy, raised their children, Joy and Nick to also live meaningful lives and focus on creating and nurturing meaningful relationships. After retiring in Billings, Montana, Jim and Judy moved to Bellingham to be closer to their family to enjoy eventful times as well as life’s little moments, the one-on-one conversations, the trips to the ice-cream shop, and the making of memories together.
Jim was my best friend and cheerleader. His “life is good” approach was so infections and authentic. We used to joke about him being a modern day Man of La Mancha- always tilting at windmills. He was like a hummingbird going from person to person filling up with positive relationships.
Dad loved the forest and the ocean. I cherish our recently created Father-Daughter tradition of camping in a yurt on the coast, salvaging the most interesting driftwood, and enjoying happy hour by the campfire. Live and love out loud!
Dad found authentic beauty and wonder in everything around him. I am forever inspired by the positive energy he gave and received while spending time with people, hiking in the mountains, admiring a fall leaf, hitting a pure golf shot, and eating ice cream
- Son, Nick
Jim championed family. Almost daily, Jim appeared in our kitchen bearing barely legible notes of thanks, important news, congratulations, and encouragement. He nourished his bond with each of us through his 1:1’s. Jim nourished our bond as a family with his many post dinner events ranging from hilarious magic shows to serious genealogy research. We always felt loved and valued in Jim’s presence.
I enjoyed breakfasts, happy hours, and going to Seahawks, Sounders, and Storm games with Jim.
Grandpa always valued science, engineering, and hands-on problem solving. He often would make wooden crafts with a special, wood burned seal on it. These included: a dinosaur (my favorite animal at the time) that could bend, twist, and fold, a platypus (also my favorite animal at the time) that could be rolled around on the end of a colorful stick, special boxes for every member of our family, and many other crafts and toys. He also loved science and engineering, and was always fascinated by new technology that he would talk to me about.
-Grandson, Luke 13
Grandpa was a great athlete and loved playing basketball and skiing like me. He loved watching sports and was almost always there at every home game we played cheering us on.
-Granddaughter, Claire 11
My grandpa loved dogs just like me. We loved having Buddy take us for romps in 100 Acre Woods and getting lost. My grandpa will always be with me to remind me to play like a dog and get lost in the woods.
-Granddaughter, Jewel 8
A funeral service will be held at Christ the Servant Church on Thursday, December 6th, at 1:00pm, followed by a reception in the hall. Jim was an avid storyteller. His family invites you to share your stories and memories of Jim and sign the Book of Memories at www.JernsFH.com. Memorial contributions can be made in Jim’s name to the Options High School via Bellingham Public School Foundation.