James Arnt Aune Ph.D


August 17, 1953-January 8, 2013

James Arnt Aune chose to leave the world on January 8, 2013, a very sad day indeed. The Aune family welcomes all friends to attend a memorial service planned for Sunday, January 27, at 4 p.m. at the Texas A&M Hillel located at 800 George Bush Dr., College Station, Texas 77840, which will be conducted by Rabbi Peter Tarlow.

He lived 59 years, having spent 26 of those years with his loving, devoted wife and dearest friend, Miriam Ruth Aune. Jim and Miriam have two sons, Nick 24, and Dan 21, both of who have autism. When autism moved in, any possibility of a normal life flew out. With humor, tears and perseverance, the Aune family stayed together against the odds.

Jim was a Minnesota boy, born and bred. He was born in Fergus Falls, only because his small hometown of Elbow Lake didn't have a hospital. He was involved in speech competition and theatre throughout his years at Lincoln High in Thief River Falls, and graduated from a small private college that shall remain nameless because Jim was mad at them.

Jim received his doctoral degree in Speech Communication from Northwestern University. After he began his professorial career at Tulane and continued at The University of Virginia, he was a visiting professor for one summer term at the University of Iowa, where he and Miriam fell in love and were married December 20, 1986. After two very happy and productive years at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, he was invited to join the Speech Communication department at TAMU in 1996. Jim was a very productive and creative scholar as well as a completely dedicated instructor of undergraduate and graduate students alike. Many Aggie students and former students would declare that Jim was the best teacher they ever had; he would have returned the compliment.

Jim's parents, Arnt and Adeline, preceded him in death in Minnesota. Though he missed their presence in his life, Jim came to Texas looking for a new home with an undivided heart.

Jim is survived by his love and life partner, Miriam; his sons, and his brothers Michael and John, their respective wives Caroline and Sandy; nephews, Peder, John Jr. and Tyler; and nieces, Beret, Stephanie and Emily.

It's a small group, but a mighty one. The larger group Jim leaves behind is made up of the hundreds of friends, colleagues and students with whom he shared various parts of his journey. He will be deeply missed.

Jim would be very pleased if donations would be made to the Autism Society of America (www.autism-society.org) because of their assistance over the years, and to the Texas Gulf Coast Vizsla Rescue http://www.vizslaclub.com/Library_club/Rescue/Rescue_main.html) because they provided his family with Buffy, Angel and Xander, three of the goofiest dogs on the planet who rounded out a family of "special" people.

This obituary was originally published in The Bryan-College Station Eagle.

Guest Book

Not sure what to say?

So so sad... RIP Jim x

Miriam, I was late learning of this sad tragedy. My memories are of Nick and Dan for those years and of you coming out to get the boys and visit with me each afternoon. Jim met the bus many times while you were away shopping. I was always impressed how good looking he was and what a handsome and fun couple you two were, and mostly where Nick got those good looks!
Those years were hard for the Aunes but you had the spirit of a vivacious young at heart fun loving girl, whilst telling me...

Jim, Just found an email you sent me the day before you left us. It was just an ordinary note about what you were planning to teach for Fall 2013. How grateful I am that we had you for all the years and days and hours that we did! Miss you... Hugs, dear Miriam and sweet guys! Prayers for you all, always!! Love, Nancy Street

Dr. Aune- I am eternally grateful to Texas A&M for bringing you to the SCOM Department. You brought much needed diversity to College Station, TAMU and our curriculum. Rhetoric and Western Thought was one of my most memorable and enjoyable classes as a student. I was thrilled to hear of your well-deserved appointment to head of the department. We are all better people - and more respectful communicators - for knowing you. I hope you have found the peace you deserve. My thoughts...

having just left jim's memorial service at tamu, and having just listened to some of his close friends and colleagues eloquently share their memories i have become more fond of the first time i met jim. it was a camp for all. it was miriam and jim's first weekend alone in 6 years. dan didn't want to get out of the car and jim had to coax, push and pull. when i asked what they were going to do on this special weekend i was told that they were going home and having a quentin tarantino movie...

I did not know Jim well by any measure, but I have known him in some way for nearly 30 years. We first met in August 1983 when I was a 2nd year student at UVA. After a year off from debate, I joined the UVA debate team. We were coached by a law student, but Jim Was the faculty advisor. Over the next three years, we met up often as he checked in with the debate and forensics teams in our office in the basement of Halsey Hall.

After graduating in 1986, I spent 5 years outside...

Dear Miriam, Nick, and Dan,

We have met only once at a department lunch at Dr. Street's house. Miriam, I have spoken with you on the phone a few times. I am very sorry for your loss. I do not know how to console you. I just wish your lives are filled with immense joy in the years to come.

One day, I was lingering outside Jim's office with a sullen face. He looked up, completely confused. "I dreamt that you had died and I was at your funeral." In...

Jim was the uncle who taught me how to play Spades when I was 15. In recent years, we got to know each other better through Facebook. He was appalled at my horrendous taste in music (Britney, anyone?) He even started to root for my beloved Oakland A's in the playoffs last year, but first he had to look them up on Wikipedia to figure out if it was football or baseball. He said, "Ok, like Obama, I got this!" I loved hearing his version of the Aune family history. He spoke of his dad...

Please accept our sincere sympathies.