James Ray (Jim) Stitt, age 90, of Westminster and Grand Junction, Colorado, passed away on April 9, 2023.
Jim was born August 17, 1932 in Salida, Colorado, the son of Harvey Stitt and Mary McBreen Stitt. He attended Cathedral High School in Denver, Colorado and earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University. In 1954, he joined the United States Army and served as an Information Specialist at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center until he was honorably discharged in 1956. Jim graduated from the School of Law at the University of Colorado in 1959.
Jim met Nancy Jean Nieman at Marquette, and they married on July 3, 1954 in Springfield, Illinois. They made their home in Westminster, where they raised five children and quite a few dogs. Jim practiced law for several decades and served as city attorney for Westminster and Federal Heights. He never lost his love for journalism, and for a time, was a co-owner and manager for the Eagle Valley Enterprise. It delighted him to pull up to the curb on the driveway at Stapleton International Airport, slip his press pass on the dashboard of the car, and walk away. He was an active member of the Westminster Rotary Club and a strong advocate for that organization’s international student exchange program.
Jim loved being outdoors, and he particularly enjoyed climbing around in the hills near Black Hawk and Silverthorne. He was an avid reader and could spend much of a day perusing the Wall Street Journal. His personal knowledge bank made him a highly coveted partner in games of trivia. He was highly skilled in the art of duct tape reconstruction: he could fix or enhance clothing, vehicles, houseplants, and garden greenery as needed. He also specialized in Christmas tree customization.* And, of course, Jim loved his dogs; he walked with them and talked with them and loved on them. There is no doubt that the dogs in Heaven gained a wonderful “hooman” the day he passed.
Most of all, Jim loved his family: his lifelong partner, Nancy and his kids. He was very tolerant of wrecks and messes, unless said mess made Nancy unhappy: it was always a bad idea to upset Nancy. In most cases, though, his response to minor infractions was a simple, “Okay.” He was known and loved as Grandpa Jim to eighteen grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren. When grandkids came to visit Grandma and Grandpa’s house, in the morning there was always coffee brewed, news radio in the background, and Grandma and Grandpa sitting at the table reading the paper. Most important, there was frequently a box of filled long Johns waiting in the middle of the table. And it was a table filled with laughter and love. It seems that almost everyone who interacted with Jim, especially in his later years, when the kids were grown and the law office was slowing down, noted his sense of humor, good nature, and kindness.
In short, Jim/Dad/Grandpa Jim was a wonderful son, husband, father, and grandfather who will be dearly missed. He is survived by his five children, Colleen, Dan, Laura, Heidi, and Kathleen, and their families.
Flowers can be sent to Horan & McConaty, 7577 W 80th Ave in Arvada, Colorado. In lieu of flowers, the family welcome a donation to your favorite animal shelter or to HopeWest Hospice in Grand Junction, Colorado.
*He never really mastered the barbecue.