JAMES L. SCHOENHAAR | Obituary

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SAVANE—James L. Schoenhaar, 63, of Savane, died at his home on Monday, August 15, 2022, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

A funeral mass was held on Thursday, August 18 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Savanna. Burial will take place in Germany.

Jim was born to Paul and Emily (Tack) Schoenhaar on February 14, 1959 and grew up on the family dairy farm north of Savanna. He attended schools in Savanna and graduated from Savanna High School in 1976. Jim farmed with his two brothers and mother until 1988 when the farm crisis forced the family to abandon farming. agriculture.

On April 16, 1977, Jim married Donalynn Anderson of Hanover. Although the couple divorced on September 3, 1988, they brought four treasures to the world. Their children are Jeremy (Sandra) Schoenhaar, of Windsbach, Germany, Emily Schoenhaar, of Bamberg, Germany, Samantha Schoenhaar, of Savanna, and Jacob (Sally) Schoenhaar, of Clinton, Iowa.

In 1989 Jim enlisted in the US Army. He served as an intelligence analyst with the 72nd Field Artillery Brigade and 3rd Infantry Division Artillery in Germany for eight years. Jim focused on the Soviet Union (his Cold War certificate was probably his most valuable award), Russia and Eastern Europe.

While stationed in Bamberg, Germany, Jim met superwoman Maria Eichhorn. They were married on September 3, 1993 and had a wonderful marriage until Maria passed away on July 12, 2015. Their union produced the radiant joy of a daughter, China (Felix) Bohmike, Schwaebisch-Hall, d ‘Germany, which carries over all of her mother’s wonderful characteristics. In May 1994, Jim’s children from his previous marriage joined the couple in Bamberg, Germany. Maria was more than a mother-in-law to the children – she turned out to be a friend, a guide, an adviser and an example.

In 1995/96 Sergeant Schoenhaar deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina during Operation Joint Endeavor as an Intelligence Liaison to the Turkish Multinational Brigade. In his spare time during his seven-year, six-month, and 19-day enlistment (he never really kept up with time!), SGT Schoenhaar earned his bachelor’s degree, with a double major in political science and history, from the University of New York State Regents College, now Excelsior College, and began his graduate studies at Salve Regina University where he earned a master’s degree in international relations.

Although Jim has always had a strong intellectual curiosity, his university studies catalyzed an even stronger desire to learn. He has always credited his academic success with Savanna Schools’ outstanding program and dedicated teachers. His profession has sensitized him to the importance of critical thinking and the imperative to examine facts, evidence and information for credibility, reliability and verifiability.

Faced with adversity at several points in his life, he never gave up. Some of his kids would say he didn’t know how to quit.

He developed an unbridled affinity for empathy, honesty, honor and, above all, integrity, which he believed encompassed all the positive character traits of humanity. Most important to Jim was his family, of whom he is very proud.

In November 1996, Jim retired from active duty and became a civilian with the Department of the Army the following year. He served with the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, 66th Military Intelligence Brigade in Darmstadt, Germany for over 10 years as a Senior Intelligence Analyst/Branch Chief for Russia and Eastern Europe. The Balkans were a focus during the ongoing Operation Joint Endeavor and the conflict in Kosovo, but Russia was always a central theme. Jim was also responsible for intelligence exchanges with allied and partner nations in Europe, some elements of counter-terrorism. In 2008, he agreed to be reassigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency of the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, as an intelligence officer for planning. He continued to focus on Russia.

In June 2016, the Defense Intelligence Agency transferred Jim to United States Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois – less than 300 miles from Jim’s hometown, where in August 2016 lightning struck. struck again for Jim when he reconnected with Julia Maples, with whom he had attended Savanna Schools. The couple got married on April 28, 2018 and Julie has really filled Jim’s life.

The Defense Intelligence Agency assigned Jim to United States Southern Command in Doral, Florida in June 2018. In December 2019 Jim agreed to be reassigned to United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany with Jim remaining focused on Russia . Jim and Julia moved to Savanna for vacation, intending to leave for Germany in March 2020. Following his cancer diagnosis, Jim retired in March 2021 with nearly 32 years of federal service.

Jim is survived by his wife, Julia; two brothers, Carl (Marianne) Schoenhaar of Hanover and Richard Schoenhaar of Savanna; the children, Jeremy, Emily, Samantha, Jacob and China; seven grandchildren, Miranda Benhart of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Mya (DJ) Benhart of Davenport, Iowa, Jay Benhart of Maquoketa, Iowa, Elisha (Patrick) Schoenhaar of Windsbach, Germany, Cheyenne Schoenhaar of Windsbach, Germany and Zachary Atakora of Bamberg, Germany; three great-grandchildren, Luke Schoenhaar of Windsbach, Germany, Malakai Ellis of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Zoey Ambos of Bamberg, Germany; and many nieces, nephews and cousins ​​(yes, China, don’t forget the cousins!).

Jim was predeceased by his parents, Paul and Emily (Tack) Schoenhaar; grandson, Jaden Johnson; and his sister-in-law, Kathy Schoenhaar.

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