Cover photo for James E. "Jim" Kaiser's Obituary
James E. "Jim" Kaiser Profile Photo

James E. "Jim" Kaiser

February 20, 1944 — May 15, 2024

Hastings

James E. "Jim" Kaiser

Dr. James Edward Kaiser (Jim), passed from his temporary home on this earth to his eternal home in heaven on May 15, 2024, at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings, Nebraska after a 10-year battle with cancer. He was 80 years of age.
 
Jim was born in Valentine, Nebraska to Robert and Martha Kaiser on February 20, 1944. He grew up in the Black Hills in Hot Springs, South Dakota. 
 
He began his musical career as a young boy playing guitar and singing in church and in his father’s band. He learned the saxophone and many other instruments, playing throughout his school years and he graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1962. Jim went on to study music at Nebraska Wesleyan University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. He was a member of the Bobby Layne Orchestra in Lincoln, performing regularly at the Play Mor Ballroom. He earned his Master's Degree in Music from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, studying under the prestigious classical saxophonist, Dr. Frederick Hemke. Jim was a featured soloist with the Chicago Symphony. Jim earned his Doctoral in Saxophone Performance from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He studied under world-renowned French saxophonist, Dr. Eugene Rousseau, and was a member of the Great American Saxophone Quartet. His virtuosity in classical saxophone music was equally matched by his mastery in jazz music. 
 
Jim met Lynn Schanilec in the music department at Northwestern University and they were married on November 25, 1967. He worked alongside his wife in music education and spent the majority of his career at Hastings Public Schools, serving as Music Coordinator and band instructor, devoting 48 years to music education. He also had his own band, and performed gigs throughout Nebraska. Together, Jim and Lynn had three children, Chris, Jason, and Nathan, and raised their family in Hastings.
 
Jim’s faith in Jesus Christ was the center of his life and he was a faithful servant to His Lord and Savior. His love for the Word of God permeated his life through both scriptures and music and he led his family as a husband and father, to know Christ. He lived his faith through his love, humility, and kindness that shone brightly to everyone around him. Jim served as a choir director in church for many years. 
 
Jim was a talented songwriter, composing and arranging music from many genres. He deeply loved the old hymns of the church and wrote music even up unto his death. Playing his guitar and singing, brought him much comfort and joy in his final weeks. Jim was an incredible husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, mentor, and all-round beautiful person. Jim had an ability to deeply connect with people in a meaningful and genuine way. His unique humor and gift of words will be remembered by all. He impacted countless lives upon this earth. No words can describe the rich legacy that he leaves behind, and he has made a mark that will live on in the lives of his family and all who knew him.
 
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Martha Kaiser; his sister Loretta; and sister Irene. Jim is survived by his wife of 56 years, Lynn of Hastings; daughter Christine (Mark) Niemeyer of Hastings; son Jason (Gigi) of Lincoln; son, Nathan of Washington; grandchildren Miranda, Joshua, and Benjamin of Hastings, and Nova of Lincoln; brother Lawrence of Chadron, Nebraska; sister Margaret (Jerry) Beach of Palm Springs, California; brother Bill (Patty) Kaiser of Yuma, Arizona; and sister JoAnn (Vince) Tusa of Los Gatos, California. 
 
A private burial will be held with immediate family only. “A Tribute for Jim Kaiser” will be held on Thursday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Hastings High Auditorium. All are invited to come and pay tribute to Jim. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be given to the family which will benefit the Hastings Public Schools Music Program. 

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Past Services

A Tribute For Jim

Thursday, May 23, 2024

6:30pm - 7:30 am (Central time)

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