James “Jim” Albregts often came off as quiet and reserved to those around him, but to those that knew him best, he was self-giving, independent, one-of-a-kind. He was an upright person, the ideal friend, and a good Catholic man. When his good friend and neighbor, Jerriann O’Herren, was asked to describe him, she simply replied, “Good. Just good. Can’t say enough good about him.” Sadly, Jim passed away on February 18, 2018 but not without leaving his mark on our community.
Jim was raised in Jackson Township and graduated from Southwestern High School. He was the son of the late Joseph and Louise Albregts. The youngest of eleven children, he is survived by Kathryn (Kate) Riehle of Lafayette, Irene Woodruff of Odon, Richard (Dick) of Racine, WI and William of Lafayette. He was preceded in death by his sister Marie Brown and brothers Chester (Chet), Francis (Franny), Cecil, Earl and Joseph (Joe). Jim and his family were the only Catholics in the area, and during the Cold War, his family would gather at different families’ homes to pray the rosary. A strong Catholic faith is something Jim carried with him throughout his life. You would see Jim attending the 7:30 a.m. Mass at St. Boniface every Sunday. If he missed due to an illness, you could guarantee he would find another Mass to make up for his absence. While he never attended Catholic schools, Jim loved his faith and believed that Catholic education has always been at the heart of the Catholic mission. Jim attended athletic events at Central Catholic with close friends and cherished his time at the football State Championship games in Lucas Oil Stadium with Bishop William Higi.
A strong work ethic was instilled in Jim at an early age as he grew up and worked on his family’s farm. His commitment to hard work continued through his adult life and career at Purdue University. Jim spent 42 years in the physical facilities department, maintaining HVAC systems, until his retirement in 2007. In his free time, he was an avid runner, biker, and swimmer, hobbies that he picked up later in life. He was a self-reliant man who changed his own oil, ironed his jeans with a perfect seam, and maintained detailed journals of all the activities and tasks he completed each day. It is clear how hard Jim worked throughout his life, and looking back now, his family and friends can see that he was doing so in order to give back to others.
Jim was truly a man of faith; he lived a life of humility so he could provide for others. Living a humble life, Jim rarely used hot water and refused to purchase himself anything new unless he absolutely needed it. While he never married or had children of his own, Jim spent his life committed to others. He sponsored low-income children to attend camp each summer at YMCA Camp Tecumseh; volunteered at Wabash Center; loved walking neighborhood family dogs, rain or shine; helped maintain the HVAC units at the YMCA Domestic Violence Shelter; and served St. Boniface as the head usher.
In May 2014, Jim established a Revocable Living Trust to leave a legacy not only to the Catholic schools but across the Greater Lafayette Community. One-fourth of his assets were granted to the Lafayette Catholic School System (LCSS) to establish the James P. Albregts Endowment Fund to assist in payment of tuition costs for children at Central Catholic Jr. – Sr. High School. The balance of his estate was granted to The Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette, Inc. to establish endowment funds for the benefit of the Lafayette YMCA, Wabash Center, Inc., The Almost Home Humane Society, and the Lafayette YWCA Domestic Violence Intervention and Prevention Program. In all, Mr. Albregts contributed over $2 million in assets between the five organizations.
The James P. Albregts Endowment Fund was established February 1, 2019 by LCSS in the Lafayette Diocesan Foundation, Inc. (LDFI). The LDFI is a nonprofit formed by the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana to administer endowments and other funds, at no cost, for the benefit of its institutions, organizations and programs.
Being the quiet man that he was, Jim would not expect or desire any recognition for this significant gift. However, as his family and friends would agree, his time has come to receive recognition for the spiritual life he lived and the generous impact he made not only on the Catholic schools but the many organizations and people throughout the community. “It is an honor to recognize Mr. Albregts for the legacy he has left on our community. His commitment to his faith and demonstration of humility will have an impact on this community for years ahead,” said Eric Davis, LCSS Executive Director.