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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Remembering a true teacher, Mr. James Eithrheim


To those who put down anyone who is not "acting" for a "living" I give you a profession that has a great impact on the arts than any single actor or so called "talent". Teaching.

My high school drama teacher James Eithrheim, in the early 1970's shown here inspiring actors at Oak Park and River Forest High School, instilled values, knowledge, a thirst for life and the need to experience life into his many students. 

Teachers do make a difference. 

In only the four years of his 30 year career, my fellow actors include at least one theater professor, an Academy Award Best Actress nominee, dozens of Tony's, many more Jeff's, artistic directors, writers, directors, producers and of course actors singing his praise, including at least one member of the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors, yours truly. 

From the voice of Homer Simpson to a Broadway musical star, Soap Opera award winners, and accolades on the London stage, his students have touched millions, each in their own way..


Posted 4-9-12 (Mr Eithrheim passed away days after this was posted)



On year ago today James Eitrheim, educator, has left this earth a better place for artists

This man inspired hundreds upon hundreds or actors to go with their hearts, whether they taught, took to the stage or became involved in other aspects of the industry, participated in church or community theatre or moved on in other ways to where their heart led them.

His students included actors who voice high profile characters in film and on TV, who have graced the New York and world stage earning major awards, who have been seen in film as stars and day-players, and who have graced the small screen from soaps and sit coms to weekly dramas.

The years I attended Oak Park and River Forest High School (1969-73) we were lucky to have four highly qualified theater instructors, with Mr. Eitrheim as department chair. A sample of students they inspired during my four years include the voice of Homer Simpson, a New York playwright, several university professors, many high school teachers, several broadcasters, Tony award winning actors, two soap opera stars, a New York City Prima Ballerina, and an Academy Award nominee.

I went on to be an actor, writer, marketing professional, journalist, broadcaster and to serve my fellow talent for 17 years on the National Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild, all indirectly from the passions fired in part by Mr. James Eitrheim.

A good man, a great teacher has left this earth.

-Art Lynch

James (Jim) Alden Eitrheim passed away April 16, 2011 at home surrounded by his family after a 5 month struggle with cancer. He was born Feb. 21, 1933 on a farm in Baltic SD. He graduated from Augustana College in 1958 after taking two years out for service in the United States Navy. Jim served aboard the destroyer USS Rowe. On August 17, 1958 he married his college sweetheart Diane C. Johnson. Jim received his Masters of Arts in the spring of 1959 from the University of Illinois at Urbana and in the fall of that same year he began a 31 year teaching career at Oak Park and River Forest High School, in Oak Park IL.

He retired from OPRFHS in the spring of 1990 and accepted a faculty position teaching theater at The University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota. Jim retired once again in 1998 after a wonderful 39 years in the teaching profession. In 2000 Jim and Diane moved to their current home in Pequot Lakes, MN.

He served for over 5 years on the Joseph Jefferson Award Committee in Chicago IL. In 1990 Jim was honored by his Alma Mater with their Outstanding Alumni Achievement and Service Award.

Throughout his life Jim has always been an active member of the Lutheran faith, serving on various committees and choirs. He is currently a member of Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa MN.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents Dan and Selma Eitrheim, his brother Donald, and his niece Susan Lankford.

Jim is survived by his wife Diane, son Kristofer (Eileen) of Bettendorf IA, daughter Karin (Steve) Maas of Chanhassen MN, son Erik (Dawn) of Owatonna MN, brother Norm (Clarice) of Sioux Falls SD, sister Esther (Bill) Boadwine of Baltic SD, sister-in-law Joan Eitrheim of Crooks, SD. He rejoiced in the lives of his 5 grandchildren: Greta, Ingrid, Alec, Erik & Ava, and his 9 nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Lutheran Church of the Cross on May 7th 2011 at 1:00pm with a reception to follow.

Memorials are requested to the following funds:

The Jim Eitrheim Theatre Scholarship at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD

The James Eitrheim Award for Excellence in Dramatic Arts, Oak Park and River Forest High School, Oak Park , IL

Lighting for the Sanctuary at Lutheran Church of the Cross

Posted April 18, 2011

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