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James B. Wagstaff

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James B. Wagstaff Obituary

James "Jim" Burke Wagstaff, 74, of Idaho Falls, passed away Sept. 28, 2010, in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

He was born June 12, 1936, in American Falls, Idaho, to Clark Wagstaff and Clara Mae Noel Wagstaff. He graduated from American Falls High School, and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Idaho State College in 1958 and his master's degree from Utah State University.

In 1955, he married Nancy Jean Bennett.

He is survived by his children, Cary and Geniel; and his grandchildren, Nicole, Dylan, Ashlee and Dallas.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clark and Clara; his siblings, Yvonne and Sunny; and his son, Jimmy.

Jim was an accomplished athlete. In high school, he held the conference and state records in the pole vault. While attending school at Idaho State University, he earned eight varsity letters and was selected for the All-Conference team in football. Jim was selected as a member of the Idaho State University Hall of Fame. Following his tenure at ISU, he was drafted to the National Football League. Jim played professional football for the Detroit Lions, Chicago Cardinals and the Buffalo Bills between 1958 and 1961.

Jim taught at multiple schools throughout Idaho. In 1963, he began teaching at Pocatello High School and then moved to Idaho Falls High School. Throughout his teaching career, Jim taught government, physical education and health. He also served as a football, wrestling and track coach. In 1969, he became the defensive coordinator at Boise State University. From 1973 to 1978, he moved to Los Angeles to coach with the LA Rams. From 1978 to 1980, he was a member of the Buffalo Bills coaching staff. From 1981 to 1986, Jim was with the San Diego Chargers. He retired from the NFL in 1986 and moved back to Idaho and then to Kenai, Alaska, to be the head football coach at Kenai Central High School. Jim coached the Down Under Bowl in Australia and New Zealand from 1991 to 1994.

Jim had a very strong faith in God and was a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in three different bishoprics and as a high councilman and Young Men's president. Jim and Nancy served an LDS mission at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

His love and passion for the outdoors made him feel like he was in "God's country." Jim loved to be in the mountains and fishing on any river or stream. He was an avid skier, and he passed his outdoor passion on to his children and grandchildren.

There will be a viewing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, Sept. 30, at Coltrin Mortuary, 2100 First St. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 1, at the Summerfield LDS Ward, 3721 Shadow Mountain Trail, with Bishop Vance Fager officiating. The family will visit with friends from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. prior to the services. Burial will be at 4 p.m. in Fallsview Cemetery in American Falls.

Condolences or a sympathy card may be sent to the family at www.coltrinmortuary.com.

Published in Post Register on Sept. 30, 2010
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