Long before the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out, Jim was preoccupied with outer space and unidentified flying objects, and when he died of esophageal cancer Nov. 16, 2012, in Key West, Fla., he was looked upon as an authority on those curiosities.
He was somewhat of a loner when he entered Princeton from Englewood School. His roommate of two years, John Leinfelder, recalls Jim would get into long philosophical discussions — some witty, some serious — about satellites. He left school after sophomore year and pursued his interest in UFOs and collecting South American antiques.
According to Conch Color, a Key West neighborhood newspaper sent by Lindsay Laird, Jim met his wife, Sandra Svendsen, in Greenwich Village, where they lived an alternative lifestyle and had one child, Elizabeth.
Jim founded Saucer News magazine in 1954, and when he moved to Key West in 1983, it was reported that he started another magazine, Saucer Smear, which he published irregularly until his death. Whether or not he actually believed in the existence of UFOs, he thought both sides of the story were “fascinating.” One thing his Key West friends believed: Jim was a colorful character.
Jim and Sandra divorced. He is survived by Elizabeth and seven grandchildren.