Cover photo for James W. “Jim” Ertel's Obituary
James W. “Jim” Ertel Profile Photo
1924 James 2017

James W. “Jim” Ertel

October 5, 1924 — April 18, 2017

James William “Jim” Ertel, 92, died at 10:52 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at home – University Place in West Lafayette, Indiana.  Jim was born at home on October 5, 1924 in Tipton, Indiana.  He was the son of Edward and Josephine (Cook) Ertel.

Jim was a successful athlete.  He played on the Tipton High School Basketball team and was a 3 year all-conference player at Tipton and considered one of the early 1940’s top pivotmen. Jim made the All-Sectional team three times, the All-Regional team twice, and then All-Semi-State team once.  He was named to 1942 Indiana All-Star team his senior year. Jim and one other player were the tallest Indiana high school basketball players at 6’ 4”.  He earned his nickname “Big Red”. Jim was added to the Tipton High School Wall of Fame in 2003.

He attended Purdue University on a basketball scholarship and played basketball for Purdue until he enlisted in the Army Air Force during WWII.  After the war ended, he returned to finish his BS degree in Math, Chemistry & Physics and earned two letters playing basketball for Purdue.  Jim loved being a Purdue Boilermaker.  He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990.

On June 19, 1946, Jim married Betty Mae “Chick” Girard in Tipton, IN. In their 70 years of marriage, they lived mostly in Indiana. Except for two years in Lexington, Kentucky, they lived in Tipton, Gary (Miller Beach), Chesterton and Lafayette. In 2012, they moved back to where they first lived – West Lafayette!

Jim’s Dad was the owner of the Ertel Bottling Works in Tipton. In his youth, Jim spent many hours working with his Dad to make and deliver Ertel’s Pop.  All his life Jim loved root beer! He also worked with Chick’s Dad, Roy Girard, owner of the Tipton Hatchery.  Jim taught chemistry, physics and advanced science at the high school and college levels.  He also coached high school basketball.  He earned his masters degree from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  The work Jim cherished was rewarded each time a former student shared how having Mr. Ertel as a teacher made a difference in their life.

Jim is survived by his wife, Chick, and their five children, James Michael Ertel and his wife Pat, Joseph Alan Ertel and his wife Jean, Carol Ann Ertel King and her husband Jerry, Andrew Edward Ertel and his wife Donna, and Marylou Ertel.  They have four grandchildren, Joe and Heather Ertel, Jon and Amy (Ertel) Summers, Jim and Michelle Ertel and Andy King; five step grandchildren, Heather, Robyn, Kathy, Matt and Charlie.

He is also survived by six great-grandchildren, Hanna, Gretchen, Audrey, Grant, James and Noah and seven step great-grandchildren, Jackson, Benjamin, Colin, Elyse, Graham, Lena and Deven.  One brother, Mark Ertel, and three sisters, Betty Moore, Rita Cage and Joann Stodgell, are deceased.

Jim was a jack-of-all-trades. He repaired anything and everything, using parts from broken objects stored in his workshop. In 1977, Jim and Chick finished the complete construction of their home in Chesterton. Jim thoroughly enjoyed spending time with friends, including his life-long friends from the 1942 Tipton Basketball team.  In retirement, they wintered in Lakeland, Florida and played many rounds of golf.

But Jim’s greatest joy in life was to spend time with Chick and his family.

A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 at St. Thomas Aquinas (Purdue), 535 West State Street, West Lafayette with Fr. Patrick Baikauskas, O.P. officiating. Visitation with Jim’s family will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday at the church.

Jim will be buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Tipton at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 30 with military honors.   Young-Nichols Funeral Home, Tipton, is in charge of the arrangements.

The family wishes that in lieu of flowers memorial donations in Jim’s memory be made to either the John Purdue Club, c/o Purdue Foundation, 403 W. Wood Street, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907 or St. Thomas Aquinas (Purdue), 535 West State Street, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47906.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James W. “Jim” Ertel, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 2

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree