Cover photo for James W. Eisenhardt's Obituary
James W. Eisenhardt Profile Photo
1948 James W. Eisenhardt 2024

James W. Eisenhardt

December 2, 1948 — January 12, 2024

Omaha, NE

James William Eisenhardt (Jim) was born December 2, 1948 in the Bronx, New York to Richard and Ruth (Bystrom) Eisenhardt and passed away January 12, 2024 in Omaha, Nebraska with his family by his side.

 After graduating from Omaha South High School in 1967, Jim went on to obtain his Bachelor of Arts from Bethany Nazarene College, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from University of Nebraska- Omaha. He was awarded two graduate fellowships from Northwestern University and studied with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England.  

 Jim taught theatre and journalism at Tech High School from 1971-1984. He created a mime troupe, Clerestory Window, that traveled around the city performing for various events and organizations. He then returned to his alma mater to teach theatre from 1984-2006. During his years at South High, Jim served as the drama director and curriculum specialist for arts education. He created unique, one of a kind programs aimed at encouraging students to become involved in the arts and led numerous trips to New York City so his students could see shows on Broadway. He served as an inspiration and mentor to hundreds of students over his career and shared his passion for theatre and the arts with everyone he met. 

 Jim had been actively involved with the Omaha Community Playhouse for over 30 years, serving on the Play Reading Committee and Board of Trustees. He also served as the Education Director and was active on stage in productions such as Irma La Douce (1973), A Christmas Carol (1981 & 1986), Guys and Dolls (1984), Of Thee I Sing (1988), Starkweather (1989), Our Town (1989), Teddy and Alice (1990), Big River (1990), and Ragtime (2006). For over ten years, Jim led trips to London with the Omaha Community Playhouse so community members could experience theatre on the West End.  He was excited about the 100th anniversary productions at Omaha Community Playhouse, electing to attend the last committee meeting from his hospital room.  

 He served as President of the Nebraska Theatre Association, President of Omaha Education Association, was active with the Nebraska State Education Association, National Education Association, sat on the Board of Directors of Why Arts, and was a Trustee of First United Methodist Church. 

 Jim was inducted into the Omaha South High Hall of Fame in 2003 and again in 2017 for the Distinguished Teacher Award. Jim helped develop Adopt-A-School Partnerships with the Omaha Community Playhouse, Opera Omaha, and Why Arts.  Notable honors include: 1994 Buffet Outstanding Educator Award; America’s 50 Best Teachers; Wallace Bacon Fellowship Trustee; Omaha Playhouse Arts Educator of the Year; Omaha Tech High School Hall of Fame; and Southern Nazarene University Outstanding Alumni. 

 On December 31, 1977, Jim married his soulmate, Nikki Ingram.  They were married for 36 years before she passed away in 2014. Jim was completely devoted to Nikki. They supported one another’s careers and shared a passion for traveling and cooking. 

 Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Nikki; parents, Richard Eisenhardt and Ruth Butler; dear friends Roland and Janet Hinrichs; his mother and father in-law, Vernon and Marcy (Epling) Ingram; and niece Bridgette (Woodring) Mitchell.  

 Jim is survived by his sister Karla (Eisenhardt) Woodring, brother Richard Eisenhardt, sister-in-law Janell (Ingram) Stedman; beloved nieces Michelle Woodring Scarbrough, Vicki Woodring Pishna, Stefanie Stedman Wiegmann (Caleb), and Rebecca Stedman Jonovich (Derek).  Jim was blessed with eight great-nieces and nephews whom he adored; Mikayla and Charlie Pishna, Jackson James, Samuel, Emma, Charlotte, and Nora Jonovich, and Adelaide Wiegmann.

 Jim will forever be remembered as a kind and passionate spirit, a fierce advocate for the arts, and a man who loved his family, friends, and students. 

 Services will be held at First United Methodist Church 7020 Cass Street, Omaha, NE 68132. 

 Visitation on February 2, 2024, from 5-7 p.m. with a Memorial Service held February 3, 2024, at 1 p.m.  The service can be viewed online on the Facebook page of First United Methodist Church.

Please direct all memorials to the Omaha Community Playhouse Education Department.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James W. Eisenhardt, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, February 2, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

First United Methodist Church

7020 Cass St, Omaha, NE 68132

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Memorial Service

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

First United Methodist Church

7020 Cass St, Omaha, NE 68132

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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