James "Jim" H. Whitcomb
October 6, 1938 - August 7, 2017
James H. Whitcomb “Jim”, 78, passed away peacefully on August 7, 2017 at Autumns Grove in Houston, Texas. Throughout his life, Jim blessed his family, friends and community with inspiring leadership.
Born in Wharton, Jim developed a love for all things complex and technical. This intellectual curiosity would be a driving force throughout his life in high school, while serving his country in the Korean War and in his civic life. After serving in the Korean War and returning in 1960, he married Joan, his high school sweetheart. He graduated with a law degree from the University of Houston in 1964, where he was editor of the Law Review. In 1971, after practicing law in Houston, he and Joan returned to their small-town roots in Columbus where he was elected and served four years as County Attorney. He returned to private practice until 1996 when he joined the First State Bank in various positions including President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors until retiring in 2009. Jim used his talents to serve and lead many organizations within Columbus and Colorado County. When Jim saw a need, he was quick to provide a solution and a strategy for making life better. In the early 70’s, he organized and helped create the Colorado County EMS Service bringing much needed ambulance service to Columbus. Jim served as Director, President and/or Trustee of many organizations including the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado County Industrial Development Corp, the Columbus Community Hospital, Columbus Independent School District, and the Colorado County Agricultural Complex. After retiring, he was a Director of the Beatrice Obenhaus Grodhaus Foundation and a founding Board Member of the Hancher Library Foundation.
Jim loved flying and was an avid pilot throughout his life. He reminded his family often that he obtained his pilot’s license before receiving his driver’s license. Jim also was enthralled with computers and electronics. Some of the most enriching years were when computers were new and just released in 1978. Jim and his children constructed one of the first personal computers. This passion influenced his son who pursued a technical career and made his daughters computer literate before it was fashionable. However, Jim’s greatest passion outside of his family and friends was “the farm”. Jim spent 6 years every weekend building a cabin with his son James, Joan and his grandchildren. Together they created a family treasure where “Grandad and Mimi” could gather on weekends and holidays with their kids and grandchildren. The farm is a home that was created with love and it will remain a symbol of Jim’s ingenuity and devotion towards his family.
Jim is survived by the love of his life and best friend of 57 years, Joan Krenek Whitcomb; son, James Howard Whitcomb, Jr and daughter-in-law Kelly of Houston, Texas; daughter, Jill Whitcomb Jelinek and son-in-law Christopher Paul Jelinek of Detroit, Michigan; and daughter, Jo Helen WhitcombVenglar of Houston. He cherished spending time with his grandchildren, Daulton Robert Venglar, James Howard Whitcomb III, Elizabeth Hayes Whitcomb, Haley Nicole Venglar, Christopher Paul Jelinek, Jr. and Nicolas James Jelinek. He is survived by his brother, Charles Ray Whitcomb and sister-in-law Augusta Whitcomb of Sealy, Texas; and brother, Robert Lee Whitcomb and sister-in-law Sherry Whitcomb of Sealy, Texas as well as many nieces and nephews. Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Benjamin and Marsaline Whitcomb.
With gratitude, the family thanks the staff of Autumns Grove for their dignified and compassionate care.
Funeral services are pending at the First United Methodist Church, Columbus, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6055 South Loop East, Houston, TX 77087-1005 or http://www.alztex.org/forms/donateform.asp
October 6, 1938 - August 7, 2017
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