Dr. James Minn, a gentleman and a scholar, passed away peacefully on December 2, 2010. Jim was beloved by all who knew him, and was described as a modern "Renaissance Man" due to his love of science, the arts, and people near and far.
Jim was the next to last of six children, and the only boy, born to Scotch Irish immigrants, Maggie Esler and James Minn, Sr., on January 25, 1922, in Pittsburgh, PA. He was proud to share a birthday with the legendary Scottish poet, Robert Burns, whose poetry he often quoted. Like Burns, Jim's family was financially poor, but maintained good humor, affection and education. Jim mastered the requirements of high school at age 15, and received a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh.
Jim was a World War II Army veteran who served in France and Germany with the 14th Armored Division. He maintained deep friendships with a number of those who served with him, enjoyed division reunions, and actually met one of the prisoners of war that he helped to liberate from a camp in Moosberg, Germany, in Ellisville, MS, many years later. Jim's personal memories of WW II are available on his website: jimminn.net.
Due to the GI bill and encouragement from first wife, Ilene, Jim returned to school and received his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. Jim moved his family to Delaware in 1952, when he was hired as a research chemist by Hercules, Inc. He was among the first members of the Kingswood of Brookside Methodist Church, and usually chair of social concerns where he was instrumental in bringing civil rights issues to the fore. He took daughter, Maureen, to the Civil Rights March on Washington in 1963.
In 1977, Hercules transferred Jim to Louisiana, and then to Hattiesburg, MS, where he retired in 1991, and joined the chemistry faculty at USM. In addition to his research on free radicals, carbonium ions, isocyanites, oxidation, and antioxidents, Jim greatly enjoyed mentoring students in the lab.
In 1976, Jim married author and writing instructor, Elizabeth Bowne. They had 21 happy years together during which they traveled to many countries, often to participate in International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) meetings or UNICEF projects. Jim continued to write and sketch and in 1981, recorded a family treasure of old Scottish and Irish songs his father taught him. After Elizabeth's untimely death in 1997, he rarely traveled, but loved the companionship of Dr. Joy Greiner, who greatly mourns his passing.
Dr. Minn was predeceased by his wives, Ilene and Elizabeth, his parents, and his beloved sisters, Margaret, Agnes, Elizabeth, Martha, and Sarah.
He is survived by his daughters, Maureen G. Tucker of Newark, DE and Laurel L. Christie and husband, George, of New Castle, DE; son, David J. Minn and wife, Lescena, of Middlesex, NJ; stepson, Frank Bowne and wife, Laura, of Davidsonville, MD; grandson, Geordan Tucker, great granddaughters, Miranda Matthews and Annabelle Tucker of Newark, DE, and many nieces and nephews.
His children invite all who knew him to attend a Celebration of Jim's Life on Sunday, January 23, 2011, at 2:00 pm at Our Home Universalist Unitarian Church, 2134 Highway 29 North, Ellisville, MS 39437. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the charity of your choice.
James Minn - Arlington National Cemetery