James Cass “Jim” Shortridge, age 89, a long time Park Rapids/Nevis, MN area resident, peacefully passed to eternal life with Christ at his home surrounded by his loved ones on Sunday, March 14, 2021. Jim was born on January 2, 1932 in Nevis, MN to James and Alice (Bergstrom) Shortridge, Sr. He attended Nevis Public Schools, graduating as valedictorian from Nevis High School, Class of 1949. When asked, he was quick to note (with a smile and a wink) that he graduated #1 out of a class of 17. Jim went on to take classes at the University of Minnesota and joined the Naval Reserve program. After his freshman year at the U, Jim won his Naval Academy appointment through competitive examination, becoming the first Nevis graduate to attend the academy. As a midshipman, Jim participated in fencing, glee club and was active in academy Bible studies. A high point of his academy career was singing at the inauguration of President Eisenhower. Jim’s faith, even as a young midshipman, was the driving force of his life and he started some of the first church services on summer training cruises. In 1956, Jim graduated from the Naval Academy and was one of a select group commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. After serving four years in the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Jim was united in marriage to Barbara Joan Johnson at the Calvary Baptist Church in Aitkin. Their marriage was blessed with two children: Tia and Tony. The young couple made their first home in St. Paul and later moved to Crookston, MN. Jim’s career in civilian life centered around business and market development. His most rewarding work was in the nonprofit sector, where he focused on rural economic development; this included founding and leading Lady Slipper Design, a cottage industry that created hundreds of jobs in northern Minnesota. Other notable nonprofit work included providing leadership for Nutritional Resources, an organization that pioneered leveraging excess crop yields and production capacity to produce food for local food banks. After retiring, Jim and Barbara settled near Nevis in the lake home that Jim designed and built. In addition to design & construction, Jim loved outdoor activities, especially fishing and deer hunting with his family and friends. He even enjoyed yardwork, particularly growing roses for his wife Barbara. Jim was a voracious reader and was an enthusiastic lifelong learner, even going as far as to study computer programing at a local university. In later years, one of his favorite activities was matching wits with family and friends in a good card game. Throughout his life, he was a very devoted family man, who rarely missed any of his children’s sports or academic activities. He also regularly attended Faithbridge Church in Park Rapids. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 62 years, Barbara of Park Rapids; his daughter, Tia Shortridge (Michele) of St. Paul; his son, Tony Shortridge also of St. Paul; his sister, Marilyn Rouse of Nevis, MN and his brother, Perry Shortridge of Wayzata; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Stan Kittelson and his sister, Audrey Erickson. The family would like to thank the staff at St. Joseph’s Hospice and Caring Hands for their professionalism and personalized care. Memorial services are being considered for later in the year. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Second Harvest Heartland. Please visit www.jonespearson.com for more information, or to leave online condolences, share memories, or to view Jim’s upcoming video tribute.
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