Jim grew up on a family farm in Kandota Township, Todd County. He graduated from Sauk Centre High School and earned a bachelor of science from Moorhead State University in business administration with a math minor before he discovered his true calling as an industrial engineer. He had worked for a short time as manager of the sporting goods department at a Target store after college when he decided to take engineering classes at NDSU. From his success at NDSU, he was recruited by the Air Force as a civilian.
The Air Force sent Jim to the University of Alabama for his master's in industrial engineering and further training with a specialty in statistics and data analysis. He traveled to oversee Air Force contracts throughout the US over his career. Jim completed 30 years with the Air Force and retired in 2019 to recover from back surgery and other health complications. He was planning on returning to the family farm near Sauk Centre, MN, and to places he had visited during his life. He died unexpectedly in his home in Franklin, OH, on Sept. 20, 2021.
Jim took an active interest in his family, his co-workers, football, and current topics. He had an understated sense of humor that was a delight to friends and family. He also kept an unwavering sense of honor and liked to play the "devil's advocate" at times during conversations. He provided a home, care and support for his mother in Franklin during much of the last eight years of her life. He had looked forward to several projects, including fixing up an old Farmall tractor and making cabinets out of lumber he collected. Unfortunately, back pain had limited his activities recently.
Jim was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents Wallace and Arlene Arnold, and brother-in-law Randy Engen. He is survived by his sister, Pat Engen, and nieces and nephews Nancy Gaillas (Teddy), Thornwood, NY; Christine Behnen (Christopher Staser), Sauk Centre, MN; Henry Behnen (Gabby), Brooklyn, NY; Theresa Behnen, Brooklyn, NY; and Robert Behnen, St. Cloud, MN.
A graveside service will be held Saturday, Oct. 16, at 1:00 at Long Bridge Lutheran Church Cemetary north of Sauk Centre.