One donor's story: James Anderst

  • Austin, MN
  • Organ , Tissue , Eyes
  • Deceased Donor: 2016

James Duane Anderst was born on January 11, 1953 in Austin, Minnesota to Delbert and Barbara Anderst. He was the middle child of three in the family. At the age of nine Jim was being bullied by some neighborhood kids who would chase him home from school. On one of those occasions the kids were in the family front yard taunting Jim. Delbert saw this, and he confronted the kids. He said that this is not fair that there are four against one. He said that Jim will fight each kid individually. The biggest and oldest kid stepped up. Jim stepped forward and knocked the kid to the ground. Delbert said “who is next?” No one stepped up and they left him alone. There were many valuable lessons learned on that day. Confidence was the biggest. Jim was involved in school sports. Football, wrestling, and track. He was self-employed most of his life. The first business was house painting at the age of 14. After high school he went to college in Winona for a year. He then went to the technical college in Albert lea and became trained as an electrician. The technical college always had an end of the year celebration where there was a softball game. As part of the festivities they had the players stand around the pitcher’s mound and on home plate they released a 100# greased pig. The pig ran for its life and many had the pig for a second or two but never could actually control it. Jim made several attempts but failed. The pig then made a break for center field. Jim took chase and tackled the pig. He got his arms around it and gave the pig a major bear hug causing the pig to give up. He yelled, “I got him!” They then informed him that he had to bring the pig back to home plate to win. Well you know Jim got that pig to home plate. His prize was, the pig. Jim eventually became a master electrician. He started an electrical contractor business, Highlight Services, Inc. Jim’s jobs consisted in putting up street lights and stop lights at controlled intersections. There are many communities within the Twin Cities that have receive the touch of Jim’s work. Jim has three daughters. Alina, Elizabeth and Kathryn. They are as fun loving as their father. They adore him as any daughter would. Jim was a true entrepreneur. He could see opportunity when others did not. He was successful in the real estate business. He would buy properties and make improvements and either rent or sell. Jim would do most of the work himself. In 1999 Jim purchased a bar in Navarre, MN. When you walked into the bar you really had to look at Jim to see if he was in his right mind. Everything in the bar was a mess. Again Jim transformed the property. It became a place of gathering and community. He created the Narrows Saloon. Jim had always worked alone or had a few people help him on some jobs. This was different. He needed more people to make this work. He pulled together a crew and brought in musicians and filled the place with music. The Narrows family was created. Jim had high expectations of those that worked at the Narrows. There were trials and tribulations but they built a place for the community to meet. The sense of family was there from the start. The employees refer to Jim as a father, son and brother. He was always there, in good times and bad. He always provided advice when asked. He really cared for his Narrows Family. Jim loved to ride motorcycles. He started riding in his late teens. During his years of riding Jim would often go to Sturgis and celebrate the biggest gathering of riders in the world. He eventually became friends and they included him in their group. They are the Hamsters, USA Motorcycle Group. Another family of Jim’s, a group of brothers that liked to celebrate life and ride their custom motorcycles. Every year they raise thousands of dollars for LifeScape Children’s Services. They also memorialize their departed brothers with a ceremony in Spearfish, South Dakota. It has been said that Jim helped bring this group closer together with his fun loving personality. Jim lights up a room when he enters. Others see this and they want to be around him. He goes by many names, James, Jim, Jimmy, and Fernando. Anyone who knows Jim knows Fernando, Jim’s alter-ego. He is a suave, seductive personality with a very goofy side. He woos the women and calms the men. He always brings a smile to everyone’s face and makes them laugh. Jim treats people with respect. It does not matter if you do not have a nickel in your pocket or if you are well to do. He is willing to help out where the help is needed. He is about community. He has been involved in the Hamster charity but also in the betterment of his community. Jim was instrumental in the development of the Navarre Public Park. He stepped up when there was a request for $3,000 to bring water into the park. He later put on three different benefits raising over $20,000 to purchase the land adjacent to the existing park for expansion. Jim was about community. Jim was still giving, even at the end. He provided better health to many by providing the gifts of organs and tissue. Another unselfish act by a man that has been so giving his whole life. Jim always had a joke to tell. They tended not to be a short but long and detailed. He told them with Jimmy flare building up to the punch line making you laugh even if you already heard the joke. Seeing him laugh caused anyone around to do the same. We will miss Jim’s presence in our lives, but he will live on. Just think of a joke he told, the laugh he made or the goofy face he created. It will put a smile on your face. Ride on Fernando!

James Anderst