James Carroll “Jim” Bollman, age 79, of Grand Forks, ND, formerly of Cokato, passed away Wednesday, May 27, 2015, after a short battle with melanoma.
He was born July 6, 1935, on the family farm in Cokato, to Carroll E. Bollman and Stella C. Sand Bollman. Jim, a 100-percent Swede, grew up in Stockholm Township, rural Cokato.
Jim worshipped with his family at the Stockholm Lutheran Church, where he was baptized and confirmed. He graduated from Cokato High School in 1953, and then attended the University of Minnesota School of Agriculture in St. Paul until he was needed back home on the family farm.
Jim quickly learned that farming wasn’t the life for him, so he chose to serve his country by volunteering for the draft. Jim joined the US Army in April 1955, and served for two years. It was in the army that Jim got his first taste of public announcing, as the company clerk at Fort Benning, GA. His work as the “Radar” of the base helped him find his passion for radio.
He officially began his radio career April 21, 1957, in Morris, MN, reading a short newscast and commercial for a new station in the area. The program director had doubts, but saw potential, and Jim was offered a job reading the news. He would spend the next nine years learning his craft and perfecting “the voice” in Morris, before relocating to North Dakota in 1966.
After a short stint in Bismarck, Jim found his forever home in Grand Forks, ND, accepting a position with KNOX Radio, doing the morning report. For the next 45 years, Jim was the voice of Grand Forks and UND athletics.
Jim leveraged his popularity and support in 1996, with a run for the Grand Forks Park Commission, and served tirelessly for the next 16 years. He was especially proud to be a part of building Kings Walk Golf Course, and Choice Health and Fitness Center. His passion for his community and UND athletics was matched by few, and honored by many.
Though many know Jim as “a legend” in radio and the Grand Forks community, his true purpose in life was to love his family and his faith. Jim wasted no time marrying the love of his life once he found her. Ginny Lea Ellwood came into his life in the spring of 1975, they were married Nov. 29, 1975, and their love story continued to unfold for the next nearly 40 years.
Their family grew with the addition of daughter Lana in 1978, and son Mitch in 1980, and loved their busy family life of sports, church, camping, and travel.
Jim was a dedicated member of United Lutheran Church, serving the congregation any way that he could. He loved to bowl, participating in both couples and men’s league for 22 years. Jim loved softball, which he continued to play until he was 62 years old, giving new meaning to the term “old timer’s league.” He was instrumental in shaping the Grand Forks softball program, serving both on the local softball board and on the state softball commission.
He spent hours on the golf course, playing with friends, family, or anyone with an open spot in their round. Jim was a wonderful musician, with a smooth, golden bass voice. He loved singing with Music, Inc., and as a member of the ULC Cathedral Choir for over 40 years; and also dabbled in community theatre.
In his last years of life, Jim found a new place of peace and a love for the lake at the family cabin on Tulaby Lake.
Jim is survived by his bride, Ginny Bollman; their children, daughter Lana (Scott) Beaton, and son Mitch (Danielle) Bollman; and their grandchildren, Alex McArthur, James McArthur, Stella Beaton, and three precious babies on the way.
He is also survived by his children, Jim (Janiel) Bollman, Karen Bollman, Angela Bollman, and Julie Wiley, and their children and grandchildren; his siblings, Jeanne Cressy, Tom (Mary) Bollman, and Dan (Marcia) Bollman; and many brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Cork and Stella Bollman.
Memorial services took place Friday, June 5 at 10:59 a.m. at United Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, with visitation Thursday, June 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church.
Arrangements were with Amundson Funeral Home in Grand Forks. Memorials are preferred to United Lutheran Church, the Altru Cancer Center, and the Grand Forks Park District.