ST. ALBANS — Jim was born in Washington, D.C. to William Earle and Joyce Eleanor (Gunderson) Lear on May 26, 1931. Following Western High School graduation he joined the U.S. Navy and served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea during the Korean Conflict. After the Navy, Jim earned his BS and MSEE degrees from George Washington University and began working with the aerospace industry. He met Dorothy Bennett at a D.C. Mensa meeting; they married on Feb. 18, 1965 and began their love of seeing what was beyond the horizon. They resided in St. Albans and on Hathaway Point from 1969 to 2011. He passed away on Feb. 14, 2017.
As an electrical engineer at Aeronautical Radio Inc., Jim developed the reservation system used by American Airlines. At IBM he worked as the theoretical and practical problem-solver on the team that created the burst radio transmitter and played a key role in developing several computer languages as well as overseeing the reliability of the machines that test computer wafers.
He served on the Zoning Board and as Justice of the Peace for many years. Thus he was able to enjoy officiating at several family weddings. He and Dorothy trained and served as EMTs eventually becoming EMS instructors. He also taught firearms marksmanship and hunter-safety classes.
His varied interests and wide-ranging hobbies included SCAA sports car racing and rallies, Formula One Grand Prix timing and scoring, firearms and coin collecting, and theatrical performances. He performed with the Montgomery Light Opera company in Maryland. Avid travelers, he and Dorothy often ventured around the globe, where they would sail, ski, scuba dive, and take language and history classes. In Vermont he was a member of the National Ski Patrol. During the many winters Jim and Dorothy spent in San Felipe, Mexico, they were active in Rotary and the SCORE Baja 1000 races. He served as an officer in the Civil Air Patrol.
Over the years he was a patient and compassionate foster father to more than one hundred short term and long term foster teenagers. He was a Mason and a Shriner. In Yuma, he fostered cats and kittens for the Humane Society of Yuma and served as a Licensed Eucharistic Visitor for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Most recently he was a judge for the Yuma County Science and Engineering Expo.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Joyce; and his grandson, Landon Steiner. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; children Cathy (Ken); Stuart (Pamela); Alan (Barbara); Lynne; Elizabeth (Dan); foster son Shane Curry and by his sisters Jeanne, Janice, and Judy, his grandchildren Nathaniel, Caleb, Hannah, Ryan, Gabrielle, Zachariah and Ephraim as well as his great-grandchildren Avery and Raleigh.
Services will be held April 17, 2017 at 11 a.m. at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Yuma, Ariz. with luncheon to follow. Memorial gifts will be appreciated at St Paul’s, 1550 S 14th Avenue, Yuma AZ 85364 or the Humane Society of Yuma, 4050 S Avenue 4 1/2 E Yuma, AZ. 85365.