Jim Royster, 84, of the Villages in Lady Lake, FL passed away on August 31st at Cornerstone Hospice House after a short decline in health revealed an inoperable tumor. Author, teacher, scholar, spiritual practitioner, adventurer, farmer, sailor and beloved husband, father, grandfather, Jim was completing his second book, Undoing, now to be published posthumously with invaluable help from two colleague/friends. Born in a Detroit suburb in 1933, Jim earned two master’s degrees after college. From 1960-65, he served as an educational missionary as the family traveled to India, Egypt, and Kenya. After receiving his Ph.D. from Hartford Seminary Foundation in 1970, he taught world religions (specializing in those of the East) at numerous colleges, retiring from Cleveland State University in 2002. Jim pioneered an intensive series entitled “Interpersonal Relations and Human Transformation”.
During his teaching years Jim lived on a small farm with his family, raising cattle, chickens, rabbits, and goats. In the ten years post-retirement, he and Liz spent half of each year in Australia where youngest son Steven and family had settled. Jim and Liz returned to India twice, and spent nearly a year traveling around the world, observing religion as it is practiced in each country.In 2002, Jim and Liz bought a sailboat, sold the farm, and moved to a small home on Lake Erie where he finished writing his first book, Have This Mind. In 2012 Jim and Liz relocated to the Villages, making many close friends. Here Jim began teaching adult classes on his first book and authored his second book.Jim leaves his wife, Liz Royster of the Villages; children Joti, Sam and Steve with Steve’s wife Janya; grandchildren Julie, Mira, Jamie, Freya Maye, Hannah Grace, Klara Jane and Alice Victoria; along with innumerable friends, colleagues and students in all parts of the world.Jim’s family will scatter ashes to the seas as requested and a memorial celebration of his life is planned for this fall.Jim’s words in his last post on his weekly Facebook Publishing Page reflect his depth and heart: “Everything as it is right now is only as it could possibly be and therefore of God—divine.” His new book is dedicated: “To all who are eager to face the truth of who they’ve become, willing to admit their faults and limitations, and courageous enough to change by releasing the old in order to rediscover their never-changing, original essence.” He adds in later pages, Socrates is credited with the bold claim: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I whole-heartedly agree.
In lieu of flowers, family, friends and students are invited to perform acts of kindness, forgiveness and/or generosity dedicated to Jim’s transition and for benefit of all beings.