Jim was born in Spring Grove, Illinois where his ancestors first settled in the 1840's. Raised in this small German-Catholic farming community, his stories resonate with the rural voices of the Illinois prairie. His relatives spent time "visiting" and telling stories as an integral part of daily life—a means of weaving the social fabric of the community.
As an Emmy award-winning storyteller and author, Jim seeks to reestablish live storytelling as an art form for entertainment, education and for healing. Jim has performed his stories across the United States and Europe. He has performed at schools, corporations, professional groups, and festivals across the land. Chicagoans know him from his appearances on WGN's Roy Leonard Show and from the Studs Terkel radio show on WFMT-FM. He received a Chicago Emmy award for a WTTW-Channel 11 production of his original story, "A Bell For Shorty."