Stories of Jim

Jim's Life Story

Jim was born in 1935 on a small farm in Lusk, Wyoming. He was one of four children and the only boy. His own father died when he was just 15 years old, and he quickly became the "man of the house" to his mother and three sisters. After earning his bachelor's degree, he went on two earn two master degrees at Union Theological Seminary and fought fiercely for equal rights and radical peace in the 1960s. Jim married his first wife, Dottie, and they had four children together. In 1979 Jim married his second wife, Carol, and they had two children together. They lived in San Ramon for many years. Jim worked for AT&T, and eventually started a company of his own selling Living Trust documents to attorneys. He was a small business owner and led a quiet life, though he never stopped preaching, at least not to his children. His daughter Sarah remembers daily car rides with her dad. They would listen to books on tape about Plato or Socrates, and talk about philosophy before she could spell the word. His son Michael remembers the long drives to Wyoming to visit Jim's mother, who lived on her ranch until she was 87 years old. He remembers how his Dad would wake him up to show him a buffalo out the window or a planet in the night's sky.

Jim had the capacity to give selflessly always. No matter what his financial position, he made sure to donate to charities like the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, or just folks on the street who needed a few dollars. One evening, while on a long drive somewhere with his children, a poor young man came up to Jim with a story about how he had run out of gas and he needed a few dollars to get by for the night. Jim gave him what he had in his pocket -- maybe $20 or $40 dollars, and wished him well. Later, when he was re-telling the story to his children, one of them said: "Dad, don't you know that is just a scam and he was trying to get money from you to buy drugs?" To which Jim replied, "well if he needed to make up a story to get money, he must have needed it pretty badly. And if he uses it to buy drugs or feed his family, that's up to him. My part was to share what I had with someone in need."

Who is Jim? Stories from his Wife, Carol

One of the most meaningful memories I have of Jim is when we we went to a wedding out of town. My dress for the event was very clingy and I had forgotten my slip to wear underneath it. There were no stores where we were, so Jim took an undershirt of his, cut it up, and re-sewed it into a slip for me, using only the tiny sewing kit in the hotel room, I kept that garment for many many years. It was such a loving gesture, and it was so Jim.

Another memory I hold dear is the time when I was pregnant. Jim and I were out for a Sunday drive up toward wine country. We were in a very rural area on a road with almost no traffic. We were approaching a car that was pulled over on the side of the road, and Dad slowed down to see if help was needed. Inside the car was an elderly couple. I don't remember what the problem was with the car, but Dad worked on it for about 40 minutes, and made sure they could get on their way again. They were extremely grateful and tried to offer us money for the help, but of course Jim wouldn't accept that, and I remember how he was just delighted he was able to help someone in need. That's just the kind of guy Jim was; being of service to others was always his most important goal.