Jim Bandstra--a jokester to hundreds, a mentor to many, and a friend to all--died peacefully Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at home, surrounded by family, friends, and coffee time.
James Henry Bandstra was born on June 20, 1955 in Grinnell, Iowa to Gilbert (Gib) & Joyce Nikkel Bandstra, the fourth of six children. He was raised on the family dairy farm north of Monroe and attended Pella Christian schools, graduating with the class of 1973. He and his family attended Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella, IA where he made profession of faith. While growing up, when not working on the farm, he enjoyed playing baseball, basketball and wrestling with his siblings. These years instilled in him a work ethic that would sustain him throughout the remainder of his life.
On April 9, 1976, he was united in marriage to Jayne DeKock in Oskaloosa, IA and their son Joshua was born. On October 20, 1977, Jim was involved in a tragic farming accident where he suffered the loss of his lower legs leaving him wheelchair bound, giving him an opportunity to become an advocate for the handicapped for the next 40+ years. Following his accident, Jim and his family moved to Centerville where he attended Indian Hills Community College and their daughter Jessica was born. After obtaining his degree in Mechanical Drafting, Jim and Jayne's lives took a different direction and they later divorced.
Jim was united in marriage to Kyla Vander Ploeg at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, IA on May 13, 1983. They resided in Ames where he continued his education at Iowa State University earning a degree in Dairy Science. While in Ames, their daughter Jamie was born. Jim was President of Handicapped Student Organization at ISU and played on the Rolling Clones, a wheelchair basketball team. In 1984, Jim and his family moved home to Monroe, took over the family farm, and their son, Gabriel was born. Jim continued farming until 1997, while he and Kyla raised their two children. After retiring from farming, he utilized his many skills helping whomever he could with whatever project they needed completed. Jim was a jack of all trades and thought of his skid loader, golf cart and four-wheeler as a glorified wheelchair. The door was always open and the house was a playground to many of the kids' friends. They enjoyed swimming in the pool, hide-and-seek in the dark, and experiencing the anti-air machine. Memories made in his home are filled with belly laughs, egg sandwiches, and home-made ice cream. It was not uncommon to find him at the Maid-Rite and throw some cheeseballs on his tab. Later in life, he and Kyla enjoyed spending time with friends and family watching live music and would travel near and far for a Bruce Springsteen concert. Jim's last hurrah was his house upon the hill with the perfect view, where he chose to take his last breath.
Jim loved nothing more than having a cup of coffee and conversation with family and friends. There was no table too small for more to gather and no time not right for coffeetime. He was blessed with his Dutch heritage and would never pass up an almond flavored treat. He was a natural entertainer and loved to capture the kids' attention with his magic tricks. He rarely went without a pocket full of peppermints and would never pass up giving a wheelchair ride on his lap, with a couple of wheelies for good measure. In his last hours, he reminded his grandchildren to remember him once in a while and to make sure they prayed for everyone and every thing.
It has been said that Jim was one-of-a-kind and cannot possibly be described with words as he was so much to so many. He didn't know a stranger and would always greet you with a sometimes-inappropriate joke. He is known for limitless humor and a larger-than-life personality. He proved throughout his life that he had the ultimate perseverance overcoming so many trials and tribulations. Jim built his own special relationship with each person he ever met with his orneriness, infectious smile, quick wit and compassionate spirit--he was an inspiration to all, loved beyond words and will be missed beyond measure.
Jim is survived by his wife Kyla of Monroe, IA and his four children and their families:
Joshua (Caron) Bandstra; Charlie Bandstra & Ella Thompson of Waukee, IA
Jessica (Brandon) Blommers; Presley, Sadie & Gibson Blommers of Oskaloosa, IA
Jamie Bandstra; special grand-dog Cork of Waukee, IA
Gabriel (Nicole) Bandstra; Lily, Lux, River, Violet & Rowan Bandstra of Monroe, IA
Jim is also survived by his siblings Karla & Scott Baxter of Newton, Ron Bandstra of Pella, Jerry & Deb Bandstra of Pella, Lisa & Dave Wagner of Prairie City, Rob & Kim Bandstra of Pella and his sibling-in-laws Kurt & Carol Vander Ploeg of Pella, Kristy & Dale Dixon of Monroe, Karlin & Darrell Hjortshoj of Monroe, Kathy Van Veen of Monroe and Kit & Kathy Vander Ploeg of Monroe, along with many nieces and nephews that he loved like his own. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and his parents-in-law, Arthur & Lila Vander Ploeg.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 2pm in the afternoon at the First Baptist Church in Monroe, Iowa with Pastor Jason Burns officiating. Visitation will be held Monday evening, April 5, 2021 from 5-8pm at the First Baptist Church in Monroe, Iowa. Memorials may be made to Monroe Ambulance. Condolences may be left for the family at www.coburnfuneralhomes.com
Memorial service for Jim Bandstra:
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of James Henry Bandstra, please visit our Tribute Store
Monroe, Iowa 50170
Monroe, Iowa 50170
He was always so happy and friendly. The first time I met him he was popping his wheelchair up the back steps to the FSA office in Newton! He sure could maneuver that chair
I am sorry to learn of Jim's passing. Cherish your wonderful memories.
Jim is the best man I I know. You will be missed my friend.
Kyla, So sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and your family. God bless. Mary Kay Hannam
I've only known Jim for 3 or 4 years since meeting him at a men's breakfast. I instantly liked him and his sense of humor! He was a highly intelligent man who could converse on any subject. I enjoyed working with him on his new home outside of Monroe. He and Kyla worked really hard together and were a good team. His friendly, kind and gentle spirit was appreciated by all his friends and family. He was strong and independent! He will truly be missed, because his life really did matter.
Doug Renaud Apr. 5
My condolences to the family of Jim. Will always remember Jim as a man with a listening ear and kind compassionate heart along with his sense of humor and easy going attitude. He will be greatly missed by myself and countless others.
Sincere condolences, Kyla, and family. We are deeply saddened by this news. Please know that we will hold you and your family in our thoughts and prayers for a blessing of comfort, calm and acceptance. Love and hugs, Bob and Suzanne Johnson
Kyla/Jamie/Gabe, so sorry for your loss. Jim was one of a kind with his infectious personality and humor. He touched so many lives. Prayers for you all.
Oh, I am so sorry to hear about Jim. He was a singular person. When Pella Christian High School burned down in the 1960's our third grade class finished the year holding class at Calvary CRC. Jim was in my class and I had vivid memories of him. He was funny and goofy then. (He was my first crush) After his accident I didn't hear much about him. Thank you to whomever wrote his obituary. I am so happy to hear the course his life took. God bless your hearts as you prepare to say good bye to him.
Kyla, what a shock it was to hear about Jim. You are in my thoughts and prayers with your family and friends. May God give you strength and guidance for the future. God Bless, so sorry for your great loss . Jim was admired by so many for his strength, and happy friendliness. I always enjoyed his friendly hello when I would see him,
Thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Jim was a great guy and will be missed. Our condolences and sympathies.
Tim & Robin Forst and family.
Thinking of you. Also think Alvin and Jim are having a good laugh at forever coffee time.
I met Jim at the Drafting program at IHCC. He had a great smile and wonderful attitude! I hope your memories comfort you in the days ahead. My condolences to all who knew and loved him. Mary Kay Koffman
My deepest sympathies to you and your family at this time of your loss. May the Lord give you Peace. 🌈
One more memory to add -- Jim was my first and best ever baby sitter when I was a kid. He was only 4 years older -- that was okay back in 1965. We played cowboys and Indians. Paul and I were the Indians and ran around shooting Jim with our new toy bow and arrows. Jim the cowboy just let us shoot. Then at the end of the night, he would make us rootbeer or pepsi floats with more ice cream than we could eat.
Kyla, It has been a while since I have seen you guys. I have fond memories of the last visit 7 years ago when I stopped by unannounced, and as expected was invited in for coffee. I have fond memories of the year I lived with Jim in Ames. A good example was a night we spend 2 hours trying to whistle "3 blind mice" in a round--me, Rick, Paul, and Jim, but could never get it done because someone would start laughing; we finally gave up. I often thought of you both in the past few years but never made work of seeing you. I regret that, but when we were home from Michigan, there were always a lot of people to see. I am sorry to hear of Jim's passing. I am a better person for having known him. You and the rest of your family have my sincere condolences. May God bless you in your time of sorrow and give you peace.
I my so sorry for your loss my sympathy to your family.
Prayers to Jim's family and friends - shared memories are blessings!
So sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. God bless and keep you at this time of sorrow. Duane and Vanessa Sloan
So sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God bless you and your family. Duane and Vanessa Sloan
Thinking of you Kyla along with your many family members. My sympathy to all.
Sorry for your loss -- Jim will be missed. God Bless.
I went to school with Jim. he was a jokester! A few years ago we crossed paths and had a great visit.
he hadn't changed. he still enjoyed laughing and joking.
my sympathies to his family.
Jim will be remembered with respect and admiration for his wit, humor, work ethic and indomitable spirit. He was an inspiration to work and talk with.
I am so sorry for your loss. I knew the Vander Ploeg family from First Baptist Church and Monroe High School (class of 1962). May God comfort you as you share special memories of your loved one. Psalm 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Jan (Cowman) Miller