James (Jim) Ray Williams

June 11th, 1939January 10th, 2021

James (Jim) Ray Williams passed away January 10, 2021 at his home in Lafayette surrounded by his family. Jim was born June 11, 1939 in Des Moines, Iowa to Richard and Mildred (Dystra) Williams. He attended East High School where he played basketball, baseball, and football and served as the senior class president for the class of 1957. He especially cherished the memory of winning the City Series Title in basketball and remained lifelong friends with many teammates and classmates from East High.

Jim played both basketball and baseball in college. He attended Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa where he earned an A.A. degree in Liberal Arts. He then finished his B.A. Degree in English at Drake University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. On September 1, 1960, Jim married the love of his life, Elaine Heggen. They later became the very proud parents of three children: Michele, Jill, and Brett.

As a boy and a young adult, Jim was active in the Community of Christ Church. He was called at a young age to the priesthood and spent many Saturday nights stressing over his sermons. These sermons ultimately always provided inspirational messages about how to apply lessons from scripture to everyday life in order to make the world a better place. Jim was a remarkable individual in that he consistently did his best to practice what he preached even though his participation in the church faded with the closing of the Boulder congregation.

The value Jim placed on service to others was especially evident throughout his career in education. He began his career teaching English and coaching basketball in Des Moines but moved to Boulder in 1963 to complete a M.A. in Counseling, Guidance and Personnel Services and later an Ed.D. in School Administration at The University of Colorado. After spending 2 years as a counselor in Evanston, Illinois, Jim began his 31-year career in the Boulder Valley School District as a counselor at the “old” Fairview High School (now Nevin Platt Middle School) in 1966. He helped shape the “new” (current) Fairview High School for many years, serving as Counselor, Athletic Director, Assistant Principal and Principal.

When he moved to central administration as Boulder and BVSD were growing, Jim similarly helped shape the district as a whole. Jim worked tirelessly to recruit and hire the best people as Director of Personnel, he inspired teachers and school leaders as Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education and supervised the building of new schools and the maintenance and improvement of old schools as Deputy Superintendent for Operations. Upon his retirement in 1997 he was recognized by his colleagues as “the heart and soul” of Boulder Valley School District.

Jim’s life and career were centered on sports, family, education, and building meaningful relationships with others. He will be deeply missed by many and remembered as a strong and compassionate leader, a fierce competitor, a friendly neighbor, and a thoughtful friend. The jury is still out on his dry sense of humor. Without exception, he will be remembered as a devoted husband, a loving father, and as “the best grandpa ever.”  

Jim is preceded in death by his parents, brother Richard “Dick” Williams, sister Patricia Kleywegt, and two nephews, John and Ronald “Ronnie” Kleywegt. He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Elaine Williams, children; Michele (Tim) DeBerry of Lafayette, CO, Jill Williams of Lafayette, CO, and Brett (Chie Hishigata) Williams of Kailua, HI, one grandson; Jameson Williams of Lafayette, CO, as well as nieces and nephews; Don Kleywegt, Bob Kleywegt, Cindi (Bob) Pool and Val (Mick) Derr.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Impact on Education Foundation for Boulder Valley Schools to help provide supplemental funding to students and teachers. Visit impactoneducation.org to donate.

Services

A memorial celebration will be scheduled for a later time as Jim’s greatest wish was to gather his friends together for further conversation and connection.

Cemetery

None

Location

None

Church

None

Condolences

I will always remember Mr Williams! When I was a student at the “old” FHS, he was a wonderful counselor and a person we all looked up to. Even though I had good grades, I never even thought about a scholarship to college. Mr. Williams researched some schools, and suggested I apply to Colby College in Maine for a scholastic scholarship. He wrote a lovely recommendation letter, and I did receive a scholarship! I ultimately attended CU instead, but it gave me a lot of confidence and remains a great honor of my life. He made a difference in so many students’ lives. What a life well lived! My great sympathy to his family. Micki Larson
I was shocked and saddened to hear of Jim's passing please accept my sincere sympathy and condolences Jim did so much for me over the years in Boulder Valley Schools he was a true friend and will be deeply missed Please keep me informed about the memorial May God Bless the entire Williams Family Steve Usechek
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