Cover photo for James Thomas Kontje's Obituary
James Thomas Kontje Profile Photo
1961 James 2022

James Thomas Kontje

April 11, 1961 — February 10, 2022

No one wants to live in a world without Jim Kontje, but sadly, we have no choice. This loving, intelligent, devoted, funny, and smart-ass husband, son, little brother, son-in-law, uncle, caregiver, ‘brother from another mother,’ friend, and colleague, crossed the life finish line far too soon. He passed quietly, unexpectedly in his sleep when his heart stopped the evening of Feb. 10, 2022.

Jim was born in Bayonne, NJ and raised in Westfield, NJ (picture Superbad) and attended Rutgers University for a business degree. Racing was in Jimmy’s blood from a very early age, thanks in great part to two men who took him under their wings, Mr. Jim Kinsler and Mr. Hank Kleban. They put him at age 12 into his first midget race car. Then they let the teenage Jimmy shadow them as they traveled together throughout the country to races. From that point on, they watched him grow into a man with a passion for the auto racing industry and who became a well-respected, much-deserved success in his own right.

For Jim, life was better at the races. “If you don’t live it, then you don’t understand it.” He loved the excitement of the auto racing industry – experiencing it, contributing to it, and making it better.

He worked as the US Racing Consultant for Carbone Industries – Messier-Bugatti headquartered in Lyon, France, with Jim working in the company’s Ashburn, Va., office. Virginia is for lovers and that’s where he met, dated, and married his love Jennifer Scott (and she to her Jimmy). Jim was known for his public displays of humor, and funny texts, memes, and storytelling. On his wedding day, he photo bombed an outdoor bridesmaids picture by sitting in his groom’s suit on a farm tractor just off in the distance.

After they returned from their honeymoon, the newlyweds moved to make North Carolina their home for the next 20 years. Jim joined the Brembo North America - Racing Division and stayed for 10 years until he was sought out to create Strange Oval - A Division of Strange Engineering, and serve as its president. Over the almost 10 years of its operations, Jim built it into a multi-million dollar company.

Jim especially loved working with Strange Engineering’s Owner Jeff Stange, who he considered one of his closest friends. He loved the entire Strange crew, the quality its products represent, and the contribution the company makes to the joy of racing.

Jim enjoyed grilling, particularly a good piece of meat, embarrassing his wife in public for fun (although she got used to it over the years so its impact wasn’t the same :), golfing, taking a rare vacation with his family to Ponte Vedra, playfully messing with his dogs and cats, and living next to Lake Norman. He recently binged the latest TV season of Ozark. His Facebook account was a showcase for his sense of humor:

Homeless Amish

The Homeless Amish

Jim leaves behind his wife, Jennifer Kontje of Denver; his mother, Gwen Jones of Bethlehem, Pa.; his father, James Kontje Sr., of Hamilton, NJ; his sister, Maureen Kontje Goense, Westfield, NJ; his nephew Bobby Jr., and his niece Kelly; his mother-in-law, Marianne Scott of Denver, and his beloved dogs Axel and Quinn. His father-in-law John H. Scott passed away in 2017.

Being a man of his word; being exceptional at his work; providing stellar customer service; being responsible and devoted to all he loved in life – meant everything to Jim. “May the work I’ve done, and the love and laughs I shared with family and friends, speak for me.”

Jim is being cremated and there will be a future Celebration of Life service scheduled for later this spring. The date and time will be shared on this website and on the Strange Engineering website.

In the meantime, Jim would relish the thought of his family and friends gathering over a drink, toasting to him, and sharing funny memories. Please do so when you can and wherever you are. A quick viewing of the badass Honey badger video is one idea since it made Jim cry with laughter.

Expressions of sympathy can be placed in the comments on this website and/or via mail to Jennifer Kontje, 4266 Stormy Pointe Court, Denver, NC 28037.

“May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

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


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