James Richard Nerge

March 21, 1945 - April 04, 2024


Obituary For James Richard Nerge

James Richard “Jim” Nerge, age 79, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 4, 2024, at St. Mary’s Hospital, Madison. He was born on March 21, 1945, in Lakefield, MN, the son of Elmer and Margaret (Birkland) Nerge. Jim graduated from Mankato High School, Mankato, MN, in 1963. He attained his bachelor’s degree at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he met his wife, Candace “Candy” Larson. They were united in marriage on March 4, 1967. They were blessed with two daughters, Angela and Mindy. Jim was a band director and teacher for Madison Public Schools, spending most of his nearly 40-year career at Jefferson Middle School. Before and after retirement, Jim led and organized student tour groups in Washington D.C.

During the summers, Jim worked as a park ranger at Devil’s Lake State Park. He also loved camping and traveling with his family, especially to Door County. He was widely known for his jokes and stories. Jim was a member of professional bands, that released multiple albums and performed regionally. One of his favorite memories was jamming with “The Funky Drummer,” Clyde Stubblefield.

Jim and Candy moved from Madison to Verona in 2006, where they joined St. James Lutheran Church. Jim was an active member of the choir and shared even more jokes and stories.

He is survived by his wife, Candy; daughters, Angela Mitchum and Mindy (Jim) Storch; grandchildren, Lilia Mitchum, Jacob Storch, Alex Mitchum, and Hannah Storch; siblings, Joanne (Dan) Maas and Don (Teresa) Nerge; sister-in-law, Heidi (Blair) Salter; brother-in-law, Robbin (Laurie) Larson; nieces, nephews, other relatives and countless friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Margaret.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, April 15, 2024 at ST. JAMES LUTHERAN CHURCH, 427 S. Main Street, Verona, with Rev. Peter Narum officiating. Visitation will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at Ryan Funeral Home, 220 Enterprise Drive, Verona and also from 10 a.m. until the time of service on Monday at the church.

Memorials may be made to the Madison Public Schools Foundation – Music Endowment Fund,

or to St. James Lutheran Church,

To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:


14 Apr


03:00 PM - 05:00 PM

Ryan Funeral Homes – Verona 220 S. Enterprise Drive Verona, WI 53593 Get Directions »
15 Apr


10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

St. James Lutheran Church 423 S. Main Street Verona, Wi 53593 Get Directions »
15 Apr

Memorial Service

11:00 AM

St. James Lutheran Church 423 S. Main Street Verona, Wi 53593 Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

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  • April 14, 2024

    I played in Jim's band, Friends of the Family, with Jim, Tony, and Norb. What great memories. Jim's smile and awesome humor still makes me smile, even while writing this. What a treasure. Candy, I am so sorry for your loss. Mark Meboe

  • April 13, 2024

    I only met Jim within the past couple years, delivering Wednesday lunches for he and Candy through the Verona Senior Center. What a wonderful man, and a great sense of humor. May you find peace. Dwight Gribble

  • April 10, 2024

    Thinking of you Candy and praying peace over you and your family. Cling to your many beauties family memories.

  • April 08, 2024

    Your dad was a really special guy - always kind, friendly, and welcoming. I hope that your memories of him will bring you comfort. Wishing you peace at this most difficult time. Amy (Bellman) Davis

  • April 07, 2024

    I have wonderful memories of band with Mr. Nerge, lots of laughs. His interpretation of "Along Came Jones" at the airband concert is one of my favorite memories of him.

  • April 07, 2024

    Mr. Nerge was one of the very best teachers I ever had. He taught me how to read music, how to play the flute and how to march in a parade as a middle schooler at Lincoln Junior High/Middle School. He always gave us great music to play from bands like Chicago and other contemporary artists of that time. Our favorite was his very own "Soul Explosion." My deepest condolences to his family and friends. God bless.

  • April 07, 2024

    Mr Nerge, From 1972-1974 you taught me how to play the alto sax at Lincoln Middle School. This is one of the great memories from my school years. I later ran into you at Devil's Lake when I was in college. You actually remembered me! May God Bless you and your family. In sympathy, Sharon Rogers Bestle

  • April 05, 2024

    Some of my favorite memories from middle school were from band with Mr. Nerge! My condolences.


  • The Peace Lily

    Gary Mitchum sent The Peace Lily for James Richard Nerge - April 12, 2024

    Sending my most sincere condolences during this difficult time.

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what our families say

Tiffany Foster went out of her way to fulfill all my requests, talked me through problems I was facing, and tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible when I was a wreck, totally crushed, and I thank her with all of my heart for that.

James S. | July 2020

The professional manner of the staff made a difficult time a little easier.

Lynda R. | July 2020

Services provided for both parents were perfect, on time, and no issues. Brenda is awesome and strong!

Michael M. | July 2020

Skyler was absolutely amazing. She was so caring and helpful through this whole process. She even went above and beyond to meet with us in DeForest and even to make a stop at our home to drop off or pick up anything needed. While it was a small gesture, it was so helpful and greatly appreciated.

Brooke S. | Dec. 2020

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