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James M. Arps

Arps, James M.

James M. Arps, age 71, of Appleton, died in the loving arms of his family on December 29, 2013 at St. Elizabeth Hospital. Jim was born on April 14, 1942, the son of Milton J. and Margaret E. (Schmitzer) Arps. He graduated from St. Mary's High School, Menasha with the class of 1960. Following his graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam, and attaining the rank of Sergeant.

After his Marine Corps Service, he went to France to study for the food and beverage industry, which was his life's calling. He was the fourth generation of his family to own a bar and restaurant following in the footsteps of his Great-grandfather Gus Krautkramer, Grandfather Alex Schmitzer, and his parents Milt and Marge Arps, founders of Alex's Restaurants in the Fox Valley.

Jim spent the majority of his life in the restaurant business. He was Executive Chef and General Manager of Alex's Crown until its closing in 1986. He then was Executive Chef for the Landmark Restaurant in Clintonville, WI. In 1989, he became a Sales Associate for Appleton's Highland Memorial Cemetery and in 1999, Sales Manager for Greenlawn Memorial Park in Neenah. Following his retirement, he returned to food service, working part-time for Franciscan Care Center and Lawrence University.

On April 29, 1978, Jim married Bernadette E. "Birdie" (Rothe), spending 35 years together. Over those years, they traveled extensively, and nothing gave Jim greater pleasure than watching Birdie's reaction and wonderment for each new travel experience.

Jim is survived by his wife Birdie, Appleton; two sons: James H. (Beth) Arps, Chanhassen, MN, and Stephen M. (Amy) Arps, Appleton; grandchildren: James Erich, Kaylin, Aaron and Carl; and two step-daughters: Kim (Mark) Foate, Neenah, and Lisa Coenen, Appleton. He is further survived by two sisters: Margaret L. Bourgeois, North Redington Beach, FL and Mary E. (Tom) Keller, Milwaukee, and three brothers: Paul J. (Kathie) Arps, Redington Shores, FL, Peter D. Arps, North Redington Beach, FL,and Mark A. (Holly) Arps, Stillwater, MN, plus many nephews and nieces. He is also survived by his Mother- and Father-in-law, and one uncle, Alex Schmitzer Jr.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Milton and Margaret Arps, and a brother, John L. "Butch" Arps.

A celebration of Jim's life will be held at 11:30 am on Friday, January 3, 2014 at the Star of Hope Mausoleum Chapel at Highland Memorial Park in Appleton, with Rev. Kurt Hoffmann officiating. Full military honors performed by Appleton Legion Post #38 will immediately follow. Visitation will be held at the chapel on Friday from 10 am until the time of service. Entombment will be in the Star of Hope Mausoleum. A memorial fund is being established for the Fox Valley Humane Society Animal Shelter.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the doctors and nurses in the ICU at St. Elizabeth Hospital for the compassionate care shown to Jim.

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Published in Appleton Post-Crescent on Jan. 1, 2014
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