Cover photo for James “Jim” Stanley Reierson's Obituary
James “Jim” Stanley Reierson Profile Photo
1939 James 2022

James “Jim” Stanley Reierson

January 1, 1939 — August 6, 2022


James “Jim” Stanley Reierson

Born in Minneapolis January 1, 1939, Jim passed away peacefully at United Hospital on Saturday, August 6th.  Jim was the eldest child of Stanley B Reierson and Kathryn M. (Thiede Reierson) Barnacle.

He lived his entire life in Minnesota and was proud of his home state. He especially loved the seasons and scenic beauty on his many road trips and vacations here.

After growing up in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Jim graduated from Marshall High School in 1957. Following high school, he enlisted in the Army where he served active duty from 1957-1959 and spent some time in Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1959.

After his military service, he entered the University of Minnesota and was accepted into the Landscape Architecture program.   Following his graduation in 1967, he became a Landscape Architect for the State of Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) and would spend his entire 34 year career with MNDOT. He retired from MNDOT in 2001.

Jim was married to Barbara Davidson in 1962. This union produced two children, Mitch and Nancy.  The marriage was dissolved in 1973. He was married a second time to Judith Laffey until 1998


Jim was very proud of his work for the State of Minnesota.  He, along with many others, worked on numerous beautification projects around the state. Notably, he helped design many roadside rests and rest area facilities. He also helped design state welcome/entry signs.  For these projects and their work, MNDOT received several awards.

During his long, successful career, he made many friends and professional colleagues. He enjoyed working on a team and the challenge of blending modern facility needs with the aesthetic beauty of nature. He always wanted his designs to enhance nature and not ‘take away’ from it.

He loved talking about landscape design and would use any road trip to show friends and family the aspects of the designs that MNDOT was working on.


For as devoted as he was to his career, Jim had many and varied interests in his personal life. He loved the water and riding his pontoon around the lake while pulling his kids on the tube. He spent many fishing trips with his family and friends, including his yearly KaBeeLo Lodge fly In trip.

He loved to travel and was able to take several trips including; all over the US, Italy, Australia and the Caribbean, with the Cayman Islands being his favorite destination where he could scuba dive and snorkel. Sitting on the beach, watching the sunset on Grand Cayman was his renewal spot in the world.

He was a sports fan and a yearly supporter of U of M Golden Gophers-especially hockey. He had season tickets and made several trips to watch Gopher hockey and Frozen Four in various play off locations. He loved his hockey friends and spending time with them.

He also played and watched a lot of golf. The challenge of the game always fascinated him. He spent many rounds playing golf with his brother and friends, trying to perfect his game. Surely, there was some friendly competition on the course.  His golf clubs have been passed on to his grandson and the challenge continues…

Among his other interests and activities were; skiing, biking, wine tastings, art galleries, going to concerts, the MN Landscape Arboretum, visiting Frank Lloyd Wright creations and other architectural wonders.

He especially loved watching his grandkids play sports and grow up.

Jim was a positive, helpful soul in this world and he will be missed by many. He always had a laugh, smile or hug for anyone. He was a mentor to his kids and grandkids and had steady advice to give. He was creative, thoughtful and articulate. He was slow to anger and prided himself on keeping his cool.  All traits that we all strive to maintain.

Jim is survived by his children, Mitch (Carla) Reierson of Mabel, MN, Nancy (Steve) Menke of Jordan, MN; sister, Joan (Dan) Hanigan of Valencia, CA; brother, Frank (Kenia) Reierson of Brooklyn Park, MN; sister, Becky (Dick) Svoboda of Osseo, MN; step brother, Gary (Betty) Port of Bemidji, MN; step sister, Sharon McDowell of WA;  grandchildren, Miranda Darling-Grabowski, Olivia Menke, Jack Menke as well as many nieces, nephews, and special friends whom he loved dearly.

He was preceded in death by his father, Stanley Reierson; mother, Kathryn Barnacle; brother, Steve Barnacle; stepmother, Gertrude Reierson-Ness; step brother, Jeff Port; nephew, Jim Hanigan, several aunts, uncles and cousins.

A visitation will take place on August 25 at 1:00 PM followed by a service at 2:00 PM, at Simple Traditions by Bradshaw – Highland, 671 Snelling Ave. South, St. Paul, MN 55116.

An end note for those who had not seen or talked to Jim in a while. He battled with Parkinson’s over the past couple years (or more?) This progressive disease has no known cause and this was true for him.  He had been hospitalized several times for related pneumonia and it severely compromised his lungs. He also had trouble with his speech and swallowing.  He worked hard to continue to live his life. In the end, his body was too weak to fight off his quick decline.  He left a final note that said “I love you all!”

There will be a memorial fund set up to get a marker, tree or bench dedicated in his honor at the MN Landscape Arboretum.

Memorials can be sent to: Nancy Menke, 981 Vine St , Jordan MN 55352

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James “Jim” Stanley Reierson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, August 25, 2022

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Simple Traditions by Bradshaw (Saint Paul-Highland)

671 Snelling Avenue South, Saint Paul, MN 55116

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Simple Traditions by Bradshaw (Saint Paul-Highland)

671 Snelling Avenue South, Saint Paul, MN 55116

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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