In Memory

James Tietjen

Born to life February 12, 1954. Entered the fullness of Eternal Life November 30, 2015. Loving son of George A. and Corrine Tietjen. Dear brother of William and the late Thomas Tietjen. Jim was married to his best friend and loving wife, Debra (Snyder) Tietjen for 38 years. Together they raised five loving children; Katherine (Barclay) Tylicki, Joseph, Molly (Zach) Bobeck, Margaret, and Jennifer Tietjen. He was the proud grandpa of Beckett Tylicki. He will be missed by his best pal, Goose. Further survived by other relatives and friends. 

Jim was a graduate of Whitefish Bay High School, and UW-Whitewater. Jim worked for Milwaukee County as a lifeguard and Aquatic Director, retiring from administration with the County in 2012. From 1985 to 1996, Coach Tietjen held various coaching positions, and returned as Head Coach of the Blue Dukes from 2002 to present. In 2014 he was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and was named the North Shore Conference Coach of the Year three times. 

Jim was a very proud and dedicated Blue Duke, from his time as a coach to even naming his landscaping company Duke’s Landscaping. 

Coach Tietjen's most important contribution was the way he built character in young men and influenced their ability to achieve. 

Visitation will take place at the Feerick Funeral Home on Friday, December 4 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. (Additional parking available at Atwater School). Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, December 5 at 10:00 AM at St. Monica’s Catholic Church, corner of Silver Spring and Santa Monica. Interment to follow. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Coach Tietjen’s name to the Blue Dukes Gridiron Club. 

Here is a beautiful tribute to Jim from Brian Kelm. Rest in peace, Jim. You've left a great legacy, of that I'm certain. 

I just learned that my best friend Jim Tietjen passed.  I am in a state of shock and really don't believe it, but last night while lying in bed watching the ceiling fan go around, many, many, many fond memories passed through my mind.   Jim and I were inseparable in high school, and spent our summers working as lifeguards for the Milwaukee County Park Commission on Bradford and McKinley Beaches.   I look back at the two goofs that we were, (and we didn't come too far from that over the years) and all the stupid things we did.   We usually were caught, I told people Jim made me do it, I'd get in trouble and Jim would get in worse trouble.  We used to joke with each other that we were socially inept, and that we were.   For example I'll never forget when WFBHS was having an outdoor dance on the tennis courts of Cahill Square, which was just across from my parent's home.  While the dance was going with the sophisticated guys in the school were dancing with their dates, Jim and I along with about 10 other goofs were having a wrestling match on my parents front lawn.  There are so many stories of immature antics that we lived through...and I would not change a minute...

We were on the swimming team together, played water polo together, worked as lifeguards together, ate a few pizzas and drank a beer or two together.....basically we grew up together.  I learned much from him, he was my hero and my buddy who was always there when I needed him.  After times that we were separated for a while, when we got back together it immediately was like we never were parted.  Our friendship just picked right up again.  I remember in high school when he started dating Debbie Snyder, I was worried that I had lost my best friend....guess didn't happen, we stayed close for the rest of his life, and Debbie also has a special place in my heart.

I will miss the phone calls that start "How's the SEADOG!!"

I love Jim Tietjen, and other than Sherry, I will never again have a friend as close and dear as the one I just lost.  My heart goes out to Debbie, Katie, Joe, Molly, Maggie, and Jenny, there is a big hole in that family which with time, I hope will be filled with warm memories.


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12/05/15 10:46 AM #11    

David Abbott (Abbott)

Jim was probably the 1st guy I ever new with physical challenges and he was amazing in his attitude that they were no big thing or limitation what so ever.  Whether swimming or playing touch football he demonstrated a fearlessness and gusto that amazed me. 

As a teammate on the swim team we all had a lot of fun together.  Morgan Byers, Admiral Dewing and all our team mates worked hard and played hard.  Jim was in his element in that environment.

Like Rob Hevey, Tom Grossman and others we went out for pizza all over Milwaukee after most swimming meets.  At the end we found those locations that would serve pitchers to some of us that were under age!

Debby, my heart and prayers go out to you and your kids.  I am confident that Jim's in heaven playing some sport with his usual gusto and smile on his face.

God Bless!

Dave Abbott






12/05/15 11:40 AM #12    

Jerold Just

Debbie- I am so sorry to hear of Jim's passing.  Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

I remember when Jim moved to WFB and showed up at Holy Family.  He was the new 'big kid with crutches'.  We all soon learned that he had no limitations.  Jim had a different mind set and nothing could stand in his way.  I remember him for his infectious positive attitude.  He was always open and friendly and made you feel good when you were around him.  While we will all miss him we are all better to have known him.

In my thoughts and prayers,

Jerry Just

12/06/15 08:29 AM #13    

Susan Kent (Achey)


I am so sorry to hear about Jim. He gave so much of himself and to so many. The Whitefish Bay Dukes were indeed fortunate to have Jim and he left a wonderful legacy. My husband, Cal, truly enjoyed talking football with Jim at our renunion and remarked many times what a great coach and guy he was. Please know we are sending love and prayers to you, your family, and all his friends. Take special care, Sue 

12/06/15 04:03 PM #14    

David Vetta

In many ways, Jim was larger than life. I was one of the goofs back then , that Brian referenced , and always enjoyed Jim with his can do attitude and what he could do when you even hinted that he couldn't accomplish something. Always had a lot of respect for Jim and Brian ( maybe a lit bit of fear ....) , who were inseparable . Moved back to the area a few years ago and it was cool to see that Jim and Debbie had this beautiful family and Jim was head coach of the blue dukes ! About a year ago  , I talked to Jim before a game and while he had his game face on , his compassion , great sense of humor and sheer determination were very much apparent Was very fortunate to have that moment. I won't talk about what Jim and Brian threatened to do to my brother Tom all in good fun , but thank goodness Tom was a step faster. Jim will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched , and his impact will live on forever. Debbie , please know all your friends are praying for you and your family. With heartfelt sympathy . Dave Vetta 





12/07/15 11:49 AM #15    

Steve Milner (Milner)

Dave - Everyone was a step faster than those two .. thait is until you entered the water or a pizza parlor :-) Steve

12/08/15 09:02 AM #16    

Carl Trimble

"Time sets the stage, fate writes the script, but only we choose our character."-Liam Thomas Ryder

Jim chose his character well.

In high school, I didn't go to the weight room often, but when I did, it seemed like Jim was always there. He challenged me, as he did countless others, to be stronger, to be in better shape, to be a better man.

I went to the visitation on Friday night to find the line at Feerick not only winding down the sidewalk, but into the parking lot. It took me about an hour and 15 minutes to get through the receiving line and pay my respects. A great tribute to a great man.

My sympathies to Debbie, Joey and the rest of the family.


12/09/15 10:21 AM #17    

Tom Morgan


My thoughts are with you and your family.  Much like Mike Hennick, I remember the new kid showing up, maybe 4th or 5th grade.  Having had a diagnosis of Perthes disease myself (luckily it was not real) I had a pretty high level of sympathy for Jim.  Little did I know this would be a kid who never would need or accept sympathy.  Jim was strong in so many ways, a good friend, always someone to trust, and always someone I will remember as a good man.

12/09/15 01:44 PM #18    

Jill Bamberger (Dizack)

I did not know Jim very well, probably one of the few who did not. However, Jim left a legacy that was well known to all, and what a legacy it is.

Debbie, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May the many wonderful memories help you through this difficult time. 

Warmest thoughts, Jill (Bamberger) Dizack

12/10/15 08:35 AM #19    

Katherine Paulik (Schultz)


Debbie, I lost track of Jim when we went to high school, but have read so many incredible things about him. I will never forget when he was the new kid at Holy Family grade school and I sat next to him his first day at school. I was so nervous because I didn't know him, but I soon found out I had no worries. He has done wonderful things in his life and for that I am sure you and the family are so proud.what a wonderful person he is. I too am so very sorry for your loss, I can't imagine the pain of losing him. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your children.

Kathy Paulik Schultz



10/28/16 11:43 PM #20    

Rick Koehler

High School was for many a uncomfortable time. Not so for Jim. Jim seemed to always know where he was going and how he was going to get it done. I also remember many days and events with Jim, Brian Kelm and Skip Hoffman. The afternoon when he kicked a extra Point thru the picture window window of our house. It really was a nice kick for a man who needed crutches. Jim always knew what he wanted and was never going to let anything stand in his way. Not a surprise to me that he would someday be a great Coach. Although we drifted apart after school I have thought of him often. My sympathies to his family

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