March 24, 1949 – January 11, 2021
James C. Stimson passed away at home in hospice on Jan. 11, 2021 after a courageous battle with cancer that began in April. He was with his wife, daughter, son and golden retriever Martha.
Jim, or Jamie, as he was known to his childhood friends, was born on March 24, 1949 in Des Moines, Iowa to James E. and Shirley (Hardman) Stimson. They lived in Maquoketa, Iowa where he attended a one room schoolhouse, and his parents owned a bowling alley and restaurant. The family moved back to Des Moines and Jim went to Perkins Elementary and Franklin Junior High. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1967. He went to Grandview College and transferred to the University of Iowa where he received his bachelor’s degree.
Jim started working in radio in the 8th grade, becoming a rock and roll disc jockey working more than full-time until his junior year of college. He was then asked to join KCRG TV in Cedar Rapids as a weekend news anchor, quickly becoming the weekday evening news anchor. He left radio and tv for a position at one of the nation’s fastest growing companies at the time, Winnebago. That began a long and successful career in marketing.
Jim went on to work in the Minneapolis area for a handful of Fortune 200 companies, in entry level to chief marketing officer roles. He was recruited to a billion-dollar worldwide marketing consulting firm in the 1980s to develop what grew to a $40 million, 400 employee Customer Loyalty division, being one of the first to develop frequent flyer programs for a major airline.
At Winnebago, Jim also met a very cute, smart, and kind summer intern who he knew would be an incredible mother. In 1974, he married that intern, Barbara Knudtson and the two would be best friends for the next 47 years. Jim and Barb had two kids: Kathryn Joy and Zachary James.
Having fallen in love with Colorado and with both kids in college, Jim and Barb left the Twin Cities and moved to Steamboat Springs to ski and enjoy the beautiful weather. They stayed for 18 years and Jim returned to his true work love: broadcasting. He worked at AT&T cable, KBCR and KRAI in Craig. He hosted the Steamboat Springs Dining Guide, did advertising for three car dealerships in Northwest Colorado and was the “Man in the High Country,” reporting twice-daily on the weather and road conditions in the mountains for 42 radio stations. Often, after hearing him talk, strangers would say: Are you the Man in the High Country?
Other than the Beaverdale Bs, Jim’s golden retrievers were some of his best friends. He served as the Director of Heeling Friends in Steamboat with his dogs Bingo and then Martha – both trained hospital therapy dogs.
Four years ago, the call of grandchildren brought Jim and Barb from Steamboat to Denver. His two Minnesota-born and educated kids were now married, parents and living in Denver. Kate is a lawyer and mother of three. Zack runs a small construction company and has two children. Jim continued his work with therapy-dog Martha at Denver International Airport. In fact, one of his nurses told the family that her young daughter had Martha’s business card on her bulletin board and remembered meeting both Jim and Martha at DIA – a bright spot in what had been a difficult trip.
Jim lived every day of his life being the bright spot for those around him. From his mailman to his lifelong friends to his family, he always offered a story, a joke or a kind gesture. He became friends with everyone he met. His sense of humor was rivaled by none. In his final days, he told his wife, kids and closest friends that it had been a great run and “no one has had a better life.” Indeed, no one had a better dad than Kate and Zack.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Barb and children Kate Stimson married to Tyrone Glover of Denver and Zack Stimson married to Emily MacCormick of Highlands Ranch, five very special grandchildren aged 2 ½ to 9 years, and, his beloved English Golden Retriever Martha. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister.
A private family service will be held at a park near his home where you can see from Pikes Peak to Boulder with an environmentally friendly balloon release and probably some rock n roll.
Memorials can be sent to Heeling Friends, PO Box 771414, Steamboat Springs CO 80477 or any charity of your choice.