James Edward Sertell, Jr.

January 16, 1933 ‒ December 23, 2020

Mansfield, Ohio



MANSFIELD: James Edward Sertell, Jr., age 87, of Mansfield passed away Wednesday, December 23, 2020 in his home, his loved ones by his side.

He was born January 16, 1933 in Tiffin to the late James and Thelma (Hale) Sertell and was graduated Tiffin High School.

A U.S. Air Force veteran, James served in the intelligence office in Veisbontan Germany. During his time in Germany he played football for Vaacom as the team quarterback.  He used his GI Bill for service to attend Bowling Green State University where James earned his Master’s Degree in education and was four hours shy of earning his doctorate.

In college is where James met Karen Leigh Linton, whom he married September 6, 1958.

Education was very important to James.  He dedicated his life to the education of young children, starting his career at Mansfield Woodville Elementary School in the 1960’s as a gym teacher. From there he went to the Madison City Schools, the Junior High, where he was a gym teacher, a biology teacher and a football, basketball and baseball coach.   During the summers he was the Director of the Madison Safety Town and Little League baseball teams.

After receiving his masters, James was principal at Lucas City Schools in the 70’s and the 80’s, then worked for the Mansfield City Schools as the principal for Malabar High School.  James and Karen retired down south to Myrtle Beach, SC where they were the happiest and the golf courses were plentiful because golf was James’ hobby.  They had joined the Saint Andrews Catholic Church, there he was called from retirement to become the principal at Saint Andrews Elementary School.  James said he couldn’t say no, they needed help, you always help the teachers so they can help the children he’d say, they are our future!

James also served as baseball umpire, a football referee and a basketball referee and maintained an excellent reputation for fairness.  Basketball refereeing was his specialty, and along with Lee Collins, they were some of the most sought after basketball referees in the State of Ohio especially when it came to the playoff games.

James was a man of many accomplishments, a loyal patriot, dedicated family man, and a driven professional.  His legacy will be one of firm commitment, and he set a steadfast example of following through on promises.

He is survived by his loving wife Karen Sertell of Mansfield, four beloved daughters and their spouses Susan and Alex Beltram of Mansfield, Sheri and Frank Belt of Tallahassee, FL, Shelly and Tom Tipul of Fredericktown, and Stephanie and  Steven McChesney of Simpsonville, SC; grandchildren Maria Mayo and James Clem, Tyler Tipul and Jennifer Young, Kristi Tipul and Cody Weemhoff, Nathan Tipul, Maxwell McChesney, Madeline McChesney and Chelsey Belt; great grandchildren Tessa, Dylan, and Andi Weemhoff, and Theodore Tipul; a brother Charles “Tom” Sertell, and best friend Tom Tucker.

In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by a sister-in-law Dori Sertell.

Snyder Funeral Homes is honored to serve James’ family and encourage you to share a fond memory or message of condolence to them at SnyderFuneralHomes.com


Legacy Touch fingerprint
PIN number for James:
Place an order by visiting

  • Kareb & girls, I am so sorry to hear about Jim. He was a great guy and I had a chance to work for him at safety town and also to baby sit for the (3) girls at that time. We kept in touch with each other for many years. May the Love of God provide help all of you during this time. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless you always. Katy (Rowland) Wehinger.

  • The Sertell family,
    I’m sorry to learn of Mr. Sertell’s passing. I’ll always remember him as a teacher, coach and, along with the rest of you, a family friend. He was always someone I admired and enjoyed being around. I learned a lot from him while in school. It was nice to be reminded of his many contributions and accomplishments in addition to his care for his family. My sympathy for your loss. Sincerely, Chris Finley

  • The Sertell family:
    My sincere condolences for the loss of Mr. Sertell. I have many fond memories of high school while Mr. Sertell served as our principal at Lucas. God bless him for all he had to endure from us hooligans! It was so nice to read about his life events after we lost touch. What a wonderful man. He will be greatly missed!

  • The Sertell family I am so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. He was such a good friend to all, and my kids grew up with him in their lives at school. Always loved watching Jim and Lee refereeing and the story they told about a lady chasing them off the basketball floor swinging her purse at them. Loved your family and the good times we had together. God bless you all. Love Pat Finley and family.

  • To Karen and the entire Sertell family,
    My sincere condolences to each one of you. I have sooo many fond memories of “Uncle” Jim as he was to me, for I am his goddaughter. He was the kindest, gentlest, and loving man. He always make me feel so very special and most of all loved when I was younger. Even though we lost touch over the years, I thought of him often. The memories I have I will hold in my heart forever and always. May god bless you and hold you close during this time of loss.

    Love, Cathy (Michalski) Belcher

  • The Sertells,
    My condolences for your loss.
    I was under his tutelage for basketball and baseball.
    He was always firm yet patient. He had a knack for making me
    strive to be a better person not only in sports but in life itself.
    Robert Arnett

  • Karen and family, I am so sorry to learn of Jim’s passing. I know he was a wonderful educator, husband and father. My prayers are with you for peace and comfort.

  • Dear Sertell family, So sorry to hear about your loss. It’s been along time since I have seen any of the Sertells but have very fond memories. Mr. Sertell was a wonderful husband and father. Shelly I always remember how your dad took us to basketball games that he was officiating. Prayers of comfort to all of you.
    Linda (Lake) Teasdale

    Jim remains a very special person to us, A true man of his time. Agneta and I have many fond memories of him which we will always cherish and share with others. Unlike death, his time has no end… only a past, present and future.

  • My dad got to know Jim and Karen as he also resides at Primrose. They soon realized they had a connection as they both are from Tiffin and were both long-time officials. My dad also is also friends with the Wax family from Tiffin.

    My dad wants you to know that he really enjoyed getting to know Jim and Karen, and sends his best to Karen.

    The Family of Dan Henige