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April 19, 2018 06:07 PM

Baltic Students, Superintendent Honor Late Principal

At graduation, Baltic High School seniors plan to honor the memory of their longtime principal, Jim Aisenbrey. Aisenbrey died on Wednesday after fighting pancreatic cancer since November. Though students and staff were prepared for this outcome, it's still not easy saying goodbye. 

"He was just such a good kind man. He could talk to anybody, he could relate to anybody," Bob Sittig, Baltic School District Superintendent, said. 

As you have probably noticed, A is the first letter of Jim Aisenbrey's last name. On Thursday, his students and colleagues kept close to their hearts by wearing t-shirts. "The A-Team" and a purple ribbon, signifying pancreatic cancer, are printed on some of those shirts. 

"He was always there and the fact that that has changed is different," Keaton Lenderts, high school senior, said. 

Tributes are everywhere. There's a Christmas tree that has notes and messages of support hanging on it. Lenderts says it's fitting, because Aisenbrey would always go out on a limb to support his students. 

"Even if you had messed up, he knew it, but he saw through it. He saw through the quick back for the longtime good, and he was always good at bringing that out of each and every single one of us," Keaton said. 

Aisenbrey spent 30 years as a football coach in South Dakota, and retired as one of  winningest in state history. Sittig says Aisenbrey's multiple honors, including football coach and principal of the year, were well-earned. 

"A couple weeks ago, he was still hoping to be here at graduation, and so on. That's just the way he was. He wanted to be here for the kids and staff," Sittig said. 

His empty office is hard to see, but Lenderts says his old principal fills a different space now.

"He may be gone, but he's never truly gone. No matter where we go in our lives, we want to take that idea with us," Lenderts said.

Jim Aisenbrey lived up to the first letter in his name, because if you ask anyone in Baltic, they'll tell you he was an A-plus guy. 

"It'll be hard to fill those shoes, because they were big shoes to fill," Sittig said. 

A visitation is planned from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Baltic School commons. The funeral will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. The family asks that all memorials be directed to the Pancreatic Action Network.

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