James (Jim) Harvey Nayes, of Dousman, formerly of Jamestown, North Dakota, passed away peacefully September 17, 2021 at AngelsGrace Hospice at the age of 94. Jim was born November 14, 1926 on the family farm, Fingal, North Dakota to Lawrence Melvin and Mary (nee Deede) Nayes. He attended rural schools and graduated from Fingal High School in 1944. On August 27, 1950 Jim married the love of his life, Joan Nydahl.
In 1945, Jim’s father was injured in a farm accident; he then ran the family farm. Jim enlisted in the US Navy that fall. He completed basic training at the San Diego Naval Training Base and was assigned to duty on the Destroyer USS McKean. Jim volunteered for “Operation Iceberg,” Admiral Richard Byrd’s 4th expedition to the South Pole, spending the summer exploring and expanding a base camp named “Little America.” Jim was then assigned to duty on the USS Henderson before being honorably discharged from the USN in 1947.
Jim farmed with his brother LeRoy while attending NDSU, graduating in 1952 with a degree in Mechanized Agriculture. In 1954 Jim and Joan became full-fledged farmers. A fall causing a serious back injury ended his beloved farming career. Jim completed his Agriculture Education degree and Master’s Degree in Agriculture, Secondary Education and School Administration in Agriculture Education at NDSU. Jim taught Vocational Agriculture at Wishek High school, developed the Vo-Ag Dept. at Kindred High School and completed his teaching career in 1987 at Jamestown High school. The Future Farmers of America (FFA), the youth organization of Vo-Ag instruction, was near and dear to Jim. “Papa Nayes” as he was affectionately known, was a mentor and role model for hundreds of students. Being named the Outstanding ND Vocational Teacher of the year in 1975, receiving the Honorary American Farmer Degree at the National Convention in Kansas City, MO, along with then ND State Governor Arthur Link in 1979 were lifetime highlights. His FFA members participated and won awards at the local, state and national levels. His motto always was “if you need help, I’ll help you; if you want to participate, I’ll see to it that you have the opportunity.” He impressed upon his students that “the only losers were those who didn’t take the opportunity to try to do their best whatever that may be.” The FFA successes were the results of parent involvement, a concerned school administration and the willingness of the students to do their best.
Jim worked as an Ass’t County Supervisor for the ND Farmers Home Administration and State Organization Director for the ND Farm Bureau. Jim was an active member of many educational and agriculture organizations: JEA, NEA, NDEA, NDVAA (president) and NVATA. Jim was the editor of the ND state publication, “AG and I” and authored many articles that were published state-wide and nationally. Jim coordinated the Stutsman County Weed Control Program, was elected to President of the ND State Weed Control Association, served as lobbyist for the State Agriculture Department and was a member of the original board of directors which formed the International Weed Management Association with Canada.
Jim was active in his community and a proud member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Jamestown. He was active in the Men of Trinity, carrying out many special projects, served on numerous committees and with Joan was Youth League Advisor. He was a member of the Jamestown Choralaires, Farm Bureau, Farmer’s Union, Ag. Improvement Assoc., Sertoma, Lions and Jamestown Golf Assoc., and was a Life Member of the American Legion, VFW and the Elks.
The most important thing in Jim’s life were his beloved and deeply-missed wife of 63 years, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the successes that he saw his students achieve as they matured later in life.
Jim is survived by his son James Jr (Jeannine) Nayes, Sunfish Lake, MN, daughter Julie (Dr. Joe) Schmidt, Dousman, WI, foster son Darrell Knutson, Tuscumbia, MO; his granddaughter Jessica Nayes (Johan Gustafson) Stockholm, Sweden, Grandsons Joshua Nayes (Kelly McClurg), Sun Prairie, WI, Jameson Nayes, Savage, MN, Nicolas Schmidt, Seattle, WA, granddaughter Angela Schmidt, Chicago, IL, and sister Dorothy Wilkins, Modesto, CA. He is further survived by three great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends.
Jim was preceded in death by sister and brother-in-law Loretta and Bill Baird, Modesto, CA, sister and brother-in-law Virginia and Milton Maasjo, Fingal ND, brother and sister-in-law LeRoy and Lillian Nayes and sister-in-law Ella Nayes, Bismarck, ND, mother-in-law Julia Nydahl, Fargo, ND and his parents Lawrence and Mary Nayes , Fingal, ND, granddaughters, Leslie Marie and Rachel Lynn Schmidt, and foster daughter-in-law Diane Knutson, Tuscumbia, MO.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021 from 12:00 PM until the 1:00 PM funeral service at the Three Pillars Ewald Chapel, 375 Hwy 67, Dousman, WI 53118. Rev. Terese Leonhard will preside. Graveside services for the family will follow at St. Theresa Cemetery in Eagle, WI. PLEASE NOTE: MASKS ARE REQUIRED AND THREE PILLARS REQUIRES TEMPERATURE CHECKS FOR ALL VISITORS, THEREFORE PLEASE ALLOW A LITTLE EXTRA TIME.
Memorials in Jim’s name are appreciated to North Dakota Future Farmers of America Foundation (ND FFA Foundation), P.O. Box 6022, Bismarck, ND 58506 (
) or to Trinity Lutheran Church, 523 4th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND 58401 (