Jim Talen was born and raised in the small town of Highland in northwest Indiana. His father worked for Illinois Bell Telephone Company and his mother was an elementary school teacher. After two years at Calvin College, he married Pat Triezenberg and they settled in Grand Rapids. Jim graduated from Calvin with majors in both philosophy and elementary education. He taught first, second and third grades at Jenison Christian School in the late seventies. In the 80's and early 90's Jim was the Assistant Director of Baxter Community Center. In the 00's Jim worked with technology at the Grand Rapids Christian Schools.
Jim and Pat have three children who all graduated from Calvin College. Emily (40) is married to Michael Schmidt and they currently live in Ada with their two children. Evan (36) is married to Hope and manages Aperitivo in the Downtown Market. They have one daughter. Elliot (35) works as Director of Sales and Marketing for Leisure Living Management.
The Talens live at 30 College SE, in the the Heritage Hill neighborhood, where they have been active volunteers in a variety of roles. Jim has been a long-time active member of the Heritage Hill Finance Committee
Jim and Pat are members of First Christian Reformed Church at Bates and Henry where they have both served in a variety of leadership roles.
Jim was first elected as a Kent County Commissioner in 1992 and served four 2-year terms. He left the commission in 2000 to spend more time with his family while his children were still teenagers. He was elected again in 2008 and is currently serving his tenth term in office.
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