Jaeger, James Walter, 64, passed from this life into the presence of his Savior on Friday, December 18, 2020 at St. Luke’s Des Peres Hospital in Saint Louis, Missouri. Jim was born on July 25, 1956 in East St. Louis, Illinois to Robert and Billie (Barham) Jaeger.
After growing up in various areas of the Saint Louis region, including Cahokia and Waterloo, Illinois, Jim graduated from Grover Cleveland High School in south Saint Louis in 1975. Like his father and oldest brother, Jim spent over 40 years faithfully serving with integrity and an amazing work ethic in various capacities and companies in the railway industry in Missouri and Texas, most recently for the last 16 years at Metro East Industries.
Jim connected naturally and easily with family, friends, coworkers and strangers through his outstanding sense of humor as a natural story and joke teller and through his love for music shared through his guitar, with the ability to recall or figure out hundreds of songs across an amazing mix of music genres for his joy and the joy of others.
His love for music began as a young boy through two significant events. The first was the emergence of his favorite band, The Beatles, in 1964. The second was Christmas Eve in 1968, when his older brother Bruce gave Jim his first guitar and chord book. Jim often noted that this $20 purchase at Woolworth’s was a big sacrifice for Bruce (20 hour of wages) and he regarded this as a life-changing gift of love he could never repay. Bruce would often replay that buying the guitar was the easy part, and Jim had the harder part to learn to play it.
And learn he did. The dulcet, soothing sound of his singing and the skillful strumming of his signature cherished 12-string Takamine provided countless hours of joy, laughter and tears for many through the years. Very few family gatherings happened without Jim playing his guitar. He played at weddings, at funerals and at the bedside of the infirmed. He played for the joy of others and for his own joy of music.
Jim is survived by his wife of 22 years, Shirley (nee Kirschke) Jaeger of Saint Louis; son, Seth (Olga) Jaeger of Bogotá, Columbia; daughter, Sherra Jaeger of Ozark, Missouri; two step-sons, Joe (Andrea) Edwards of Rogersville, Missouri and James (Tye) Edwards of Hurst, Texas; and three beloved grandchildren, Nicholas and Konstantin Jaeger and Ella Mathewson. Survivors also include two siblings, Connie (Doug) Lemmon of Bolivar, Missouri and Barbara Brown of Waterloo, Illinois along with countless loving aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and precious friends.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, three siblings, Bruce (Beverly) Jaeger, Tom Jaeger and his youngest sister, Sheila (Roger) Middleton.
Arrangements for a celebration of Jim’s life will be determined at a future date. In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be directed to St. Jude Research for Children.