James M Whymer

February 26th, 1956 to September 24th, 2020

Jim “Jimmer” Whymer died peacefully at home of metastatic melanoma on September 24th, 2020, surrounded by his wife of 43 years, Patty Whymer, their children, Traci Whymer (Tyson Connolly), Kyle (Amanda) Whymer, Joel (Rachel) Whymer, and his best buddy and grandson, Finn Sullivan Whymer.

Jim was predeceased by his father, Robert Whymer, sister, Nancy Maynard, and brother, Edward Whymer.

Along with his wife, kids and grandson, Jim is survived by his mother, Teresa Whymer; sister, Michele Seif; brother, Bill (Pattie) Whymer; and many treasured in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends and family too numerous to list but not forgotten.

Jim was born on February 26, 1956 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Robert and Teresa Whymer, and was the middle of their five children. In the summer of 1974, after his graduation from West Catholic High School, he rode his bike across the country with the Wandering Wheels organization. While in Colorado, he happened to cross paths with his younger brother, Bill, on a bike trip with another group, at the top of a mountain.

He attended Aquinas College, and worked at the Grand Rapids Press where he got his start in journalism. He met his wife, Patty, and they were married in July of 1977.

While pregnant with their first child, Jim and Patty left everyone they knew in Grand Rapids and moved to Port Huron in the fall of 1978 for the sportswriting job at The Times Herald. Jim wore his brand new sport coat for the interview and by the time he noticed the tag still on the arm, he had already made his mark on Port Huron. They moved thinking it was just a stepping stone to greater things and of course, never left.

He was known as Jimmer, Dude-Dude, Whymes or Whymetime, the mayor of the Thumb, the legend and Hall of Famer, and his personal favorite was Grandpa. He could talk to anyone about anything, as long as it was mainly sports.

Sometimes his stories were picked up nationally and he won some awards and honors along the way but he was proudest of his “refrigerator journalism”, a term introduced to him by his early mentor, Ralph Polovich. Blue Water area athletes have brought his face and words all over the world, in scrapbooks and memory boxes.

When he saw the writing on the wall for the newspaper business, he took an early retirement but wasn’t staying busy enough with just the refereeing and umpiring. He eventually came upon his second perfect job where he worked part time at St. Clair County Community College in the athletic department until his passing, including as much as possible during his latest illness and quarantine. He loved SC4, the Fieldhouse, and all of his friends on campus so fiercely that he was murmuring about the Winter Showcase basketball tournament through his final days.

He stayed too optimistic and was too busy fighting to write his own story but the book would have been amazing. Jim first got melanoma in 2014 and pursued an aggressive treatment that came closer to killing him than the cancer. Our family truly learned the lessons we all hope we know - that family and love are the most important possessions we have, followed closely by community, and to be thankful for every precious day. We hope and believe that is what gave him these extra six years of blessings. The Whymer family is so grateful for the overwhelming support we have received and our Jimmer would have been especially touched.

A private service will be held at St Mary’s Catholic Church, and a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Foundation of St. Clair County for a scholarship fund being established in Jim’s name.

Arrangements are by Karrer-Simpson Funeral Home. To send condolences, visit karrersimpson.com

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