A few things have changed since Jim graduated from Monroe in 1964. “For one thing, our gym was a big unheated Quonset hut-type building with a rounded roof in the parking lot,” reminisces Jim. “They waited until after I graduated to build a real gym.”
He was lucky on at least one account. The current Monroe High School building was completed in 1956, and for some reason, it was decided 5th graders would have class in the new building along with the 7th and 8th graders. “I got to enjoy three years – 5th, 7th and 8th – in the new building,” he says.
After high school graduation, Jim enrolled in the University of Alaska Fairbanks to pursue a degree in accounting. He worked in accounting for ten years including a stint as Doyon Limited’s first accountant before deciding he was ready for a change.
He dove headfirst into real estate with Realty, Inc. “I was nine years into my real estate career; the pipeline boom had just ended and the economy was down,” explains Jim. “Meanwhile, I was having a lot of fun and making good money. Then, my dad called.”
Jim’s dad, you guessed it, Gene Immel said, “Hey, it’s time to go to work at Gene’s Chrysler.”
Jim and his twin brother John were co-general managers of Gene’s Chrysler until they sold the business to Lane Nichols and Greg Wagner in 2004.
“You know,” says Jim, “This will be the 49th HIPOW and the 49th year that Gene’s has contributed a car.” Gene’s has never missed a year, even when times were tough. Today, Lane Nichols, the sole owner of Gene’s, continues the legacy of giving. We are thankful.
Sometimes you are put on earth to do certain things. Jim says he firmly believes he was put on earth to help ensure the longevity of the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks.
“My education at ICS and Monroe gave me a solid foundation for my adult life,” he says. “And if I want these schools to continue, I am supposed to help.”
We’re grateful for Jim’s help over the years, both financially and through volunteer service. He and his brother John co-chaired HIPOW in 1988. Jim plans to attend HIPOW as an out-of-town guest this year–he will be flying in from Palm Springs, where he lives full-time.