Deceased August 3, 2019
After a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease, Jim Newcomer died on Aug. 3, 2019. Despite physical infirmity and limited mobility, he remained sharp of mind and stoic. He loved being a grandfather and enjoyed playing with his four grandchildren. He is survived by his beloved wife, Martha; sons, Jeffrey and Andrew; and daughter, Juliet.
Jim and Gordon Holmes ’60 were roommates for four years at Amherst. Their relationship was extended during time spent in the Washington, D.C., area, where Jim did his military service with the Strategic Communications Command. Gordon highlighted Jim’s “understated wit and contagious laugh.” Jim majored in American studies, joined Phi Delta Sigma and was managing editor of the Olio. He subsequently received his M.B.A. in finance from Columbia University in 1962.
Living abroad and General Motors were key elements of Jim’s life. In 1950 his family relocated to Antwerp, Belgium, where his father engaged in restoring GM operations. Jim attended a French-speaking school, and his resultant fluency in French and willingness to travel greatly influenced his professional career. Exposure to war-ravaged Europe generated his lifelong interest in World War II history and led him to compile a large library featuring that subject.
Jim’s own career was with GM, primarily in its Overseas Operations Division. His work abroad included a three-year stint in Iran, ending just before the Islamic revolution, and a year in Tunisia. Thereafter he worked from Michigan but included extensive international travel. In 1992, he accepted a buyout during GM downsizing but resumed contract work on the GM audit staff until full retirement at the end of that decade.
Jim loved opera and classical music. He became a staunch fan of University of Michigan and Lions football, Red Wings hockey, Pistons basketball and Tigers baseball and spent much time rejoicing or lamenting their results.
Gordon Holmes ’60 and Dick Weisfelder ’60