Jim LaRue

Jim LaRue, 71, passed away at home at April 7, 2018. He struggled with the brain disease Ataxia for 8 years.


Jim was born in Marshall, MO to Robert and Dorothy LaRue. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Sharon, children Scott and Katie, mother Dorothy and sister Jeanne. He graduated from Marshall High School earning varsity letters in football, basketball, and tennis all three years. He then attended the University of Central Missouri where he played varsity tennis for 4 years and graduated with a Masters Degree in Physical Education.


In 1972, Jim would move to Kirksville and become the offensive coordinator for the Tiger football team; he would also teach elementary physical education. Jim taught in Kirksville for 15 years. After giving up coaching football, he began coaching the boys’ and girls’ tennis programs. He won the first state championship EVER at Kirksville with the 1984 boys’ tennis team. He would go on to run hundreds of tennis tournaments.


He moved to Columbia and started Tiger Air Express, the first shuttle service to Kansas City and St. Louis. In 1988 he became the head coach of the University of Missouri tennis program. He also coached at Lincoln University and Stephens College. He was Director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association tennis tournament for 35 years. He received their highest honor, the MSHSAA Distinguished Service Award. He designed the team portion of the tournament and was instrumental in bringing in USTA certified referees. He became a USTA referee and worked at college and professional levels. He enjoyed being yelled at by John McEnroe and being questioned by Martina Navaratilova.


Several businesses were also part of his life, including Four Seasons Sports, Boone County Recreation Management, Itchy’s Antique Mall, The Market Place, The Ice Chalet Antique Mall and LaRue Farms.


If you wish to honor Jim’s memory please do so by doing something “fun.” Sports, of course; play tennis, golf, or go skiing. Go on a float trip or road trip out west. Drink a Rolling Rock or gin and tonic (it doesn’t have to be out of a tennis ball can). Listen to some oldies and play music trivia. Take your husky for a run or let him pull you on your skis. Volunteer with Special Olympics. He would often ask his players, “Are you having fun?” So do something fun and think of Jim.


  1. DaleTindall on April 10, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Sharon and family: So sorry to hear of Jim passing. Always admired him and his quiet, soft
    gentleman demeanor. Appreciated his efforts in coaching all three of the Tindall children in tennis
    and as a supporting friend. He was the reason I invested in Tiger Express and was so disappointed when he left the company. The obituary was Jim LaRue all over… great job.
    Dale Tindall

  2. Larry and Nancy Platz on April 10, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    We are so very saddened by the loss of a dear friend. Even though we taught in different buildings we were both P.E. teachers in the same system, thus we attended the same meetings and had the same boss, Mr. John Spainhower. I did not know about his many endeavors after leaving K-v so it was wonderful to read in his obit. about all the awesome things he did,,,and I am not surprised at any of them. We send our love to Sharon, their children, and his Marshall family. He will be missed.

  3. Ron Miller on April 10, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    I really got to know Jim when he asked me to join him in starting a sporting good business, Four Seasons Sports. He taught me so much about the business world. Once you knew Jim, he became a friend. He was also born to coach. His quite personality never changed. Will miss him! God Bless!

  4. Jim and Tina Fitzpatrick on April 10, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Lots of prayers sent. So sorry for your loss

  5. Rick Louder on April 10, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    So sorry to hear of Coach LaRues passing he was one of my favorite teachers and coach’s.

  6. Julie Schneider Mikolajczak on April 10, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    One of the greatest men I’ve ever known. His infuence in my life is in almost everything I do. The confidence he helped me build led me to do many things in life. His quiet way taught me that a person didn’t have to yell. The years I spent at Four Seasons Sports are among my very favorite. My condolences to Sharon, Scott, and Katie. He is remembered with a smile.

  7. Rex Ellebracht on April 10, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Thank you Jim for your time and attention to Tween Club in the Summers of the NMSU campus????Fond memories of great people there??

  8. Robert Lloyd on April 11, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Rest in Peace Coach.
    Miss you…No more pain.
    You the best Coach ever.
    4th, 5th, 6th grade P.E. and Tennis coach. Thanks for your SMILE.

  9. Phil Murphy on April 11, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Sorry to hear of Coach’s passing. I was a member of his KHS 1980-82 tennis team and will always remember the liars poker games on the bus rides to meets, the team games we would host at our house and he would always be there and most of all his guidance and leadership. Life well lived Coach – Rest In Peace

  10. Mary Sherwood Garton on April 11, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Dorothy, Jeanne, and family, I was so sad to read of Jimmy’s passing. Prayers and love.

  11. Marcy Sater on April 11, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    I am sorry to hear about Jim.

  12. Chris (White) Pierson on April 11, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Sad news and we will keep you, Scott and Katie in our prayers. Definitely one of the top 10 most influential people of my formative years. Taught me how to play tennis and to aim high in life, my first time Skiing in Colorado, floating on Jacks Fork, Avon pro tennis in KC, summer tennis at his hometown in Marshall, and so much more. He will be missed but in so many wonderful memories! ?????

  13. Bob Kennedy on April 11, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear Jim has left us, but I have many fond memories of him from our years at Marshall High. He was a terrific guy. My condolences to all the family.

  14. Greg Stahl - MSHSAA on April 12, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Jim was just an unbelievable human being that shared his knowledge and passion for tennis with many people. He was always so professional and welcoming to all athletes at our state championships. RIP Jim and prayers for the family.

  15. Cindy Streb on April 13, 2018 at 9:28 am

    I would like to add my condolence to Coach LaRue’s family. I have many fond memories and appreciation of both Coach LaRues. I am grateful to have been influenced by such quality people. My thoughts and prayers to you.

  16. Tim Ruble on April 16, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    My coach, my friend, my mentor…..RIP Jim you will not be forgotten…..I had a gin and tonic tonight in your memory (alas did not have a metal tennis ball can). You touched so many young people in such a positive way and that is your true legacy.
    KHS tennis grad 1983.

  17. Frank Schmidt on April 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Jim was a constant positive presence during our son’s early tennis career. And for many others’. RIP

  18. Mark (rosey) Rosewell on June 19, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Coach jim Larue , one of the finest people I ever have known! We played doubles together in many tournaments late in life.he officiated our meets for 25 years and the best official I ever saw.always the voice of reason and logic plus experience.but more than that a true friend who I could always count on and will be severely missed! Rest In Peace jim and good luck to you Sharon.

  19. Charles Scalse on November 19, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Jim LaRue was my phys ed teacher in the 6th grade and my basketball coach in 8th grade. He was very good at relating to pre-teens. He never talked down to you even though you were just a know-nothing kid. He would come out a shoot baskets during warm ups before games. He made playing sports fun. I can’t say that about every coach I had.

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