James Elmer Zelfel

James Elmer Zelfel

August 14, 1951- November 13, 2023

James Elmer Zelfel passed away on November 13 at UNMC in Omaha, surrounded and embraced by his family. Jim, the only child of Gerry and Mike, was born August 14, 1951, and grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He graduated from St. Albert’s High School and attended Iowa State University. He enlisted in the Navy and served for six years. Afterwards, he graduated from UNO with an advanced degree in computer science.
In 1971, he married his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Helen Shea and enjoyed a life full of faith, family and friends. He and Helen lovingly raised two children, Jim and Julie. For 30 years, he worked at OPPD’s nuclear power plant as a quality assurance auditor. He retired in 2010 and enjoyed many years of biking, traveling, and spending time with his family. He was a member of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus.
Above all else, Jim will be remembered for his service to others and selfless heart. He kept every promise he ever made and taught his eight grandchildren the importance of hard work, love of family, and faith in Christ.
Jim is preceded in death by his father and mother, Michael and Geraldine Zelfel. He is survived by wife, Helen; children, Jim (Jenny) and Julie (Dusty); and his eight grandchildren who he adored: Kristin, Elizabeth (Matt), Caitlyn, Megan, Tatum, Gabriel, Zoe, and Kellen; and great-grandchild, Spencer.

VISITATION: Thursday, November 16, 2023 5-7 p.m. at the West Center Chapel, followed by a VIGIL SERVICE: at 7 p.m. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, November 17, 2023 10:30 a.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 14330 Eagle Run Dr. INTERMENT:  2:30 pm at Omaha National Cemetery.

Memorials should be directed to the Siena Francis House or to the St. Vincent DePaul School.

To view a live broadcast of the Service, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.


  • Dean W.Taylor Posted November 14, 2023 12:55 pm

    To Helen and family , I’m so sorry for yalls lost . My deepest symphathy to your family . Jim was a good man and person and family mam. My prayers and thoughts are with yall…

  • Bonita Posted November 14, 2023 12:56 pm

    So sorry about the passing of Jim. Prayers to all the family for Comfort in your time of Loss.
    Sincere Sympathy
    Mike and Bonnie

  • Patrick and Cohen Broderick Posted November 14, 2023 2:34 pm

    Sending Our deepest condolences to the Zelfel family and everyone who got the privilege to know Jim. Me and Cohen are forever grateful for the memories with Jim playing in the backyard and playing inside on the Train set he showed Cohen- we will sincerely miss him. Keeping the Zelfelf family in our thoughts and prayers.

    -Pat and Coco Broderick

  • Mick Morrell Posted November 14, 2023 3:53 pm

    Helen and family,

    My deepest condolences to you on the loss of Jim. I feel a profound sadness in learning of his passing and know that your loss is so great. Jim was always willing to pitch in and help wherever and whenever he was needed. Jim was always the kind gentleman filled with integrity. His loss will be felt by everyone who knew him. May our Lord Jesus comfort you at this time.

  • Gail Yantis Posted November 14, 2023 4:50 pm

    Helen, I am so sad to hear this. Glad we got to see you both recently Our thoughts and prayer to you and your family.

  • Kathy Carl Posted November 14, 2023 5:52 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Prayers for all of your family.

  • Sharon Posted November 14, 2023 6:25 pm

    Helen I’m so sorry to hear of your husbands passing. Sending hugs and condolences to you and your family. Glad we got to spend sometime with him last year.

  • Dave and Jessica Anton Posted November 15, 2023 7:41 am

    Helen, Jimmy, Julie and Family,

    Our deepest condolences go out to you all. We were very saddened and sorry to hear of Pops’ passing. Hoping you can all find comfort in each other and our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Much Love and Hugs,
    Dave, Jessica Anton and Family

  • Rich and Janis Thompson Posted November 15, 2023 10:20 am

    So very sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. He was such a great person. He will be greatly missed

  • Rick Becker Posted November 15, 2023 12:46 pm

    Sincere condolences to the Zelfel family. Jim was so proud of
    his family. Simply a Joy to be around!

    Rick & Carol

  • Liz Lyons Posted November 15, 2023 4:04 pm

    Julie and family, my deepest condolences for the loss of your father. While his life was taken too soon, it is easy to see it was enjoyed to the fullest. May God be with you and your family as they grieve his loss during the holidays especially. Know you have a community of people here to embrace you. All our love, Eric and Liz Lyons and family.

  • Robert Derr Posted November 15, 2023 4:37 pm

    My thoughts and prayers for the entire family! I served aboard the USS Tunny SSN 682 with Jim in the early part of 1977. Great guy!

  • Cheryl Herrington Posted November 15, 2023 11:24 pm

    Dear Helen, My heart goes out to you dear friend. Even though your faith is strong I know you already miss Jim. Robert and I will keep you in our prayers. We are so very sorry for your loss.

  • Allan Koenig Posted November 16, 2023 8:18 am

    I had the pleasure of knowing Jim through work at OPPD. Jim was always helpful and always had a positive attitude.

  • Meg Blair Posted November 16, 2023 9:01 am

    Helen, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I am thinking and praying for you and your family. Meg Blair (NMC)

  • April Horstman Reser Posted November 16, 2023 9:26 am

    Helen, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband, Jim. Thinking of you at this difficult time. Sincerely,
    April Horstman Reser (NMC)

  • Ione Straka Perkins Posted November 16, 2023 10:26 am

    Sorry for your family loss

  • Deb Carlson Posted November 16, 2023 1:11 pm

    Helen, I am so sorry to hear about Jim. Our thoughts and prayers are with you from your NMC family. Deb

  • Eva Lovas Posted November 16, 2023 3:04 pm

    Helen, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. You are in my thoughts in these days.

  • Sherry Edens Posted November 19, 2023 9:28 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts will be with as you grieve. I know we did not see each other often but I will miss Jim.

Sign Guestbook

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *