Jim Jennings was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on October 28, 1924 and lived a long, full life• before a stroke in 2016 paralyzed his right side, the only thing that could slowdown this Snow Bird’s love of beach volleyball. Jim died on February 5, 2020 at the Cornerstone Hospice House in The Villages, Florida, with family at his bedside.
Jim was a loving son, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, and great grandfather. His wife, Aija Laimdota Jennings, preceded him in death, as did his father and mother (Edward Paul Jennings Sr. and Eleanor Easton Jennings), his brother (Edward Paul Jennings Jr.), and his brother-in-law (Andrew L. Frahler).
Jim is survived by his son and daughter (Jim Jennings, Jr. and Linda Jennings of Canal Winchester) plus his granddaughter and grandson and their families (Tiffany and Tim Oliver plus Dani and Shawn Moreland of Pickerington, as well as Jason, Jackie, and Judah Jennings of Mustang, Oklahoma), Cindy Blake of Canal Winchester, and Carmen Anderson of Fredericksburg, MD.
Jim Jennings is also survived his sister and sister-in-law (Claire Frahler and Edna Jennings, both of Atlanta) plus much-loved nephews and nieces plus grand nephews and grand nieces. Also mourning the loss of Jim are Holly Jennings; Tom, Marci, and Candice Lentz: plus Marilyn Nimz and Kerry Thompkins, all of Columbus.
Jim was a WWII veteran and fought at the Battle of the Bulge with the Railsplitters. He was a Staff Sergeant when he was Honorably Discharged. After the War, Jim worked with the UN Relief and
Rehabilitation Administration to assist refuges in Germany, where he met his future wife, Aija, ·a refugee from the Russian invasion of Latvia.
When Jim returned to the US, he began a long and impactful professional career, starting as a survey geographer with the US Geological Survey in Alaska, followed by stints teaching Geography at North Carolina University, Northern Michigan University, Syracuse University, and Pittsburgh University. In 1960, Jim was recruited to create the Area Economics Department at Battelle Memorial Institute. Five years later, Jim established James M. Jennings Associates, a Community Planning and Economic Development firm. Jim and Jim, Jr. worked together for the next 25 years, providing planning and community development consulting services to communities and businesses, primarily in Ohio, until Jim’s retirement in 1990.
During this period, Jim was also extensively involved in public service activities, such as Chairman of the Upper Arlington Planning Commission, Chairman of the Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corporation, twice President of the Ohio Planning Conference (the nation’s oldest association of citizen planners), Founding President of the Ohio Planning Foundation, Founding President of the Ohio Development Association, Founder and Executive Director of the Ohio Basic Economic Development Course (and assisted North Carolina in developing their BEDC), and Founder and Executive Director of the Ohio Community Development Correspondence Course to teach the basics of economic development to community leaders. In 2006, the Ohio Senate recognized Jim as one of Ohio’s finest citizens.
A Memorial Service to celebrate Jim’s life will be held at the Mountview Christian Church at 2140 Fishinger Road in Upper Arlington on May 17 or 24, 2020. Jim’s remains were cremated and will be interred at Evergreen Cemetery in Paris, Texas, next to his wife (Aija) and mother (Eleanor). In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a contribution to a charity of your choice.