Jim passed away November 13, 2014 at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Lawrence, Ks. He will be remembered as a true gentleman with many talents and interests.
He was born on November 19, 1926, in Tuscola, Illinois. Jim graduated from Tuscola Community High School in 1944. He then enlisted for two years in the Navy and was part of the submarine corps, in World War II. From 1946–49 he attended Illinois Wesleyan University, where he was a member of the Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity. He graduated with a major in psychology and a minor in music. He loved jazz and played the stand up bass. In 1949 he went to work for Lehigh Portland Cement Co. in Allentown, Pa. The Navy called him back in 1952 during the Korean conflict, for another two years in mine warfare. He then returned to work in eastern Ks. for his former company.
Jim enrolled in the Washburn University Law School, Topeka, Ks. and graduated in 1957. He held several positions in law firms until moving into his own practice in Abilene, KS, for 19 years.
Jim met his wife, Barbara, through friends in Lawrence, Ks. They were married in July, 1973. A decision was made to accept the position of District Attorney for the Marshall Islands as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific for two years, 1976-78. They then spent the next two and one half years in Saipan where Jim worked for the District Attorney there. After returning to the U.S. Jim attended the University of Denver Law School, obtaining an M.S. in Judicial Administration. Jim became interested in Executive Search, a career he began in 1981 in San Diego, Ca. He did not return to the practice of law, but he & Barbara moved to Lawrence, Ks in 1987 where he started the Winn Group, an actuarial search firm.
In Lawrence, Jim belonged to the Actuarial Society. He was a supporter of the Topeka Jazz Workshop, Inc. and always enjoyed jazz concerts presented by the KU music department. Sailing was a great love for Jim. He sailed his own boat at Clinton and Milford Lakes. He enjoyed taking family and friends for sailboat rides. Jim loved to travel. He & Barbara were fortunate to have had travels to many Asian countries, the U.S. and cruises in the Caribbean.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Plum & Oma Winn; a brother Willis Winn: two children David Winn & Cynthia Winn; a step-son, David Heath.
Jim is survived by his wife, Barbara Winn: two step-sons: Thomas Heath(Pam), and Gary Heath(Debbie). He was blessed with eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
A family graveside service will be held at a later date. The family suggests donations in Jim’s memory be made to: Topeka Jazz Workshop Scholarship Fund, PO Box 452, Topeka, KS 66601
Messages & Condolences
I am so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Barbara, you may not remember me or my family. My mother, Doris (Dee Dee) Issitt Watson passed away on Nov. 7 after a short illness. She actually worked for Jim at one time in Abilene. Jim was a friend of my grandparents, Doris and Dean (C.D.) Issitt. As a young girl, I remember him as a sharp, intelligent, quick-witted man with very curly dark hair who always had a smile and seemed to know everyone. Jim recruited me and a few other girls one summer in my early teens as “Dolls for Dole” to walk in the Abilene parade with Elizabeth and Robin Dole. I believe the two of you lived for a time down the road from the home my father still lives in on Skipper Road. Jim helped a high school boyfriend of mine who got into a minor scrape. He did it with compassion and went “the extra mile” to make sure the young man was treated fairly. I will never forget the day in December 1966 when Jim called my Mom with the news that an infant boy had been located – the answer to my parents’ longing to have another child and the beginning of my role as “the big sister”. I was almost 7, and it changed all of our lives forever and for the better. Though I had lost track of the family, I just wanted you to know the fond memories I have of him, to offer my condolences, and to thank you for designating the Topeka Jazz Workshop for memorials. God Bless!
I was so sorry to read of Jim’s passing in the Abilene paper. Barbara, I hope you know how important you and Jim were to my mother, Ruth Snider. She so enjoyed her work relationship with Jim as well as the friendship with the two of you. I will be forever grateful to Jim for being such strong support for Mother when she had to make the wrenching decision to move my dad to nursing care due to advanced dementia. Sending many thoughts your way.
Mary Sue (Snider() Whitney
Our deepest condolences for your loss. His voice was always one of reason and thought through his letters to the editors. I know how much Jim meant to my brother, Mike. His memory and life will live on through so many lives that he touched.
Warmest Thoughts and prayers,
Murl and Carla Westheffer
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