James Possehl (“Jim”), a husband, brother, father, grand-father, great- grandfather, former rugby player, philanthropist, and quintessential entrepreneur, who founded Denver, CO based Republic Financial Corporation more than 50 years ago, has died at the age of 78.
Jim grew up in Tacoma, WA, just south of Seattle, with his parents, Hollis Clayton Possehl and Stanfield Louis Possehl. He had a great childhood and loved to ride his bike, fish and play baseball. He awoke at 4:00 a.m. on many summer days to go fishing – he could not figure out why none of his friends wanted to join him. His family moved up to Seattle when Jim was in middle-school and that event changed the course of his life.
At 15, after moving to Seattle, Jim met the love of his life, Karen Lundin. Karen and Jim both attended Roosevelt High School where they made life-long friends. After Roosevelt, Jim and Karen both enrolled at the University of Washington. Jim credits Karen with helping him make it through his classes at the University of Washington and graduating. You could say that Karen was the editor Jim needed whenever a writing assignment was due. Jim accomplished a lot in his life…..winning a spelling bee was not one of them. Jim and Karen were married in June of 1965, prior to graduating from college.
Jim put himself through college working at a Shell service station. After college, he continued to work for Shell as one of its top salesmen. Jim launched his leasing career in 1969 with US Leasing Inc. Shortly after joining US Leasing, two senior executives saw the talent in Jim and asked Jim to join them in a new leasing venture as a junior partner. With 2 small children under 4 at home, Jim jumped at the opportunity. Going to work for a new venture, with all the risks involved, never really phased Jim as he did not view it risky when he was relying on himself.
With the economy in Seattle struggling in the early 1970’s, Jim was asked to move his wife and family to Denver, CO to open a second office. Having never really been out of the state of Washington, Jim and Karen, along with their two little ones (and one on the way), embarked on a new adventure to Denver, CO. Shortly after arriving, Jim decided to start his own business. He did so with a $500 advance on his credit card and copying someone else’s articles of incorporation (legally), Republic Financial Corporation was born in 1971.
Jim worked tirelessly to build his business and raise his young family. He always talked about “surrounding yourself with great people.” Jim believed that you should never be the smartest person in the room. During his time at Republic, Jim surrounded himself with many wonderful people that accomplished great things together.
While working on the business he did not miss one of his kids’ gymnastic meets, poms competitions, football games, baseball games, basketball games, etc. – he always enjoyed attending his kids’ events and made them a priority. In addition, as a mild-mannered business owner, he found the time and mindset to play rugby (of all things!) for the Denver Barbarians. He fell in love with the game of rugby and the people involved. He stayed close to the game and the people for 50 years.
Jim retired from Republic Financial Corporation in 2007 after completing many financial transactions that others said were not possible. Jim had a unique view of the world and applied that view, along with a tenacity and a set of values, to his successful business. For the uncommon work Jim completed he was recognized in many ways – he was awarded the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the United Association of Equipment Leasing, The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and he was inducted into the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association Hall of Fame.
Jim appreciated the recognition he received. However, his success at Republic allowed him to take part in one of his favorite things to do….help others. Jim and Karen have been great philanthropists giving of their time and money to many worthy causes including but not limited to: Caring Ambassadors (helping people with chronic health issues), Sewall Child Development Center (early childhood education for kids of all abilities) , The Karen Possehl Women’s Endowment at the University of Colorado, Colorado, Springs, CO (scholarship for non-traditional female students), and a trustee of the Green and White Rugby Trust (which supports the Denver Barbarians Rugby Club).
Jim and Karen have also been known to be very quiet in their giving wherever they saw a need and could do something about it. They have been great role models in this way for their kids and grandkids.
Jim Possehl had (and continues to have) such a positive impact on so many lives - he will be missed.
Mr. Possehl is survived by his lovely wife (of 57 years) Karen; loving sister Barbara Possehl Scott; two sons, Jeffrey T. Possehl and Robert S. Possehl; their wives (Mel and Sarah); daughter Cheryl P. Lundberg; her husband (John); 11 grandchildren; and one great grandchild. His big brother, Greg Louis Possehl, predeceased Jim.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to one of the following organizations that meant a lot to Jim:
CU Anschutz - Cancer Center General Research Fund (Allocation Code - 0223173) – You may make a donation in honor of Jim at the following link https://giving.cu.edu/fund/cancer-center-general-research-fund
KPWE College Scholarships at CU Colorado Springs - Karen Possehl Women’s Endowment (Allocation Code -0450012) Make check payable to CU Foundation with “In Memory Of Jim Possehl” on the Memo line, and mail to UCCS Development, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918-3733; or you may use the link www.uccs.edu/Possehl to make a memorial gift online.
Jim’s family held family-only service for him in April.
A Celebration of Life for Jim will be held for friends and family on:
Friday, May 12, 2023
Cherry Hills Country Club
4125 S. University Blvd.
Greenwood Village, CO 80113