Recruited by Charlie Caldwell, Jim along with Wilkinsburg High School classmates Blair McMillin and Lex Winans roomed together in ’01 Hall freshman year. An early injury ended Jim’s football hopes. He majored in biology, joined Dial Lodge, and enjoyed his time at Princeton. His senior roommates were Barry Caskey, Dave Vannatta, and Lex Winans.
After graduation, Jim had a short stint in medical school, which didn’t suit him. He then attended Naval Officer Candidate School and spent several years at sea, notably as gunnery officer on the destroyer USS Noa,on which he was the first to offer John Glenn a helping hand as Glenn emerged from Friendship 7.He ended his Navy years in charge of the brig at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, where he became interested in corrections work, a segue to his life’s work of helping people unable to help themselves.
After earning a master’s degree from Pitt in social work and public administration, Jim spent most of his career in Erie, Pa., as county director of human services and later ran his own case-management company, so successful that its model has been copied in counties all over the country.
A skillful sailor, Jim with his wife, Patty, sailed all corners of Lake Erie on their 30-foot sloop (Noa, of course) as well as frequent chartering on the Chesapeake and coastal Maine. Jim was also the oldest crew member of the replicated flagship Niagarafrom the War of 1812, a high honor among Great Lakes sailors.
Jim is survived by Patricia; sons Tim, Pat, and Chris; their wives; and five grandsons. Many people considered this fine man as their best friend and mourn his passing, as does the Class of 1957.