mdk Robert Duncan McJimsey

March 9, 1936 – September 3, 2009

Robert Duncan McJimsey died September 3, 2009, in Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs, CO. He was born March 9, 1936 in Dallas, TX to Harriet (Tilden) McJimsey and Joseph Bailey McJimsey. He spent his early childhood years in Houston, TX, and in 1944 moved to Ames, IA. He graduated from Ames High School in 1954 and from Grinnell College in 1958 where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He held various elective offices in both high school and college including president of the Grinnell College student body. He also participated in athletics, most prominently, basketball and track. After graduating from college, Bob spent a year as a Rotary Club scholar, studying English history at the University of London. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and conducted his research on a Fulbright Fellowship in England. He taught briefly at Oberlin College and Ohio Wesleyan University, and in 1968, he joined the Colorado College History Department. In addition to teaching British and European history, Bob enjoyed teaching interdisciplinary courses with colleagues in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. He served on college committees and was a long-time officer of the Western Conference on British Studies.

On June 24, 1961, in Leamington, ON, Canada, Bob married Marianna Josephine Presler. They have three children, Elizabeth, George and Katharine who grew up in their home on East San Miguel Street where their friends were always welcome. Bob was an active member of Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church serving on several vestries, as junior warden and senior warden and as a Stephen minister. He was also a member of The Round Table.

No recital of these bare facts can capture the fullness of Bob McJimsey. Bob was a loving family man who put his wife and family first, proud of their accomplishments and their character and always ready to support and comfort them. He gave the same level of care to his children’s spouses and his grandchildren. For them all, he was a safe haven.

Bob was imaginative and creative. He enjoyed making up games and stories. He especially put his creativity into his teaching, always eager to find new ways to inspire his students’ intellectual curiosity. Bob believed in the liberal arts mission of teaching life’s lessons and possibilities. If you wanted to understand diplomacy and power, he would say, read Thucydides on the Peloponnesian Wars; if you wanted to understand the human spirit, read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.

Warm, understanding and supportive, Bob was a wonderful friend. Whether engaging in light-hearted debate with colleagues on his patio, trading favorite movie moments at a dinner party or offering support or advice to a friend in need, he was generous in conversation and genuine in his affection for the opportunity and experience. He was also terrifically funny. He had a matchless wit for the particular situation, usually a quip or an aside that kept you from taking life too seriously and increased your enjoyment of his company. He relished this aspect of life and equally appreciated it in others. You left his presence with a lighter spirit.

Bob is survived by his wife of 48 years, Marianna; his daughter Elizabeth Souder, her husband Will and children Emily, Abigail, Jack and Ben of Overland Park, KS; George McJimsey, his wife Brenna and children Rowan and Malcolm of Albuquerque, NM; Katharine McJimsey and her husband Michael Wood of Chicago, IL; his twin brother George and his wife Sandra of Ames, IA; his brothers-in-law Henry Presler, Franklin Presler and Titus Presler and their spouses and Wesley Presler; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. We will miss him and keep him in our hearts forever.

A memorial gathering will be held on Friday, September 11, 4-7 p.m. at the Swan Law Funeral Home, 501 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO. The funeral service and inurnment will be held on Saturday, September 12, 11 a.m., at Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 601 N. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, CO. A reception will follow the service in the Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, Bob asked that memorials be made to the Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Restoration Fund (Grace and St. Stephen’s Church, 601 N. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903) or to The Colorado College Scholarship Fund (Development Office, Colorado College, PO Box 1117, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-9897).

[Thank you, Don, for sharing this one with me!]

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