Grier Schaffer, the executor of Jim's estate, reported that Jim died as a result of liver cancer that was
diagnosed last spring. Jim was a retired teacher and swim coach. Grier was one of his students and swimmers. Jim had a brother
and sister but had not seen them recently. He has no other survivors. He was cremated and his ashes were spread in his favorite
park in Columbus, OH. There was no obit in any paper -- Jim didn't want one.
Class Memorial Pages\A-2 Jim Weaver.pdf
On September 3, 2005, James J.
Weaver, Jr., Hill instructor of math emeritus and former swimming coach,
passed away in Dublin, Ohio from complications related to cancer.
Jim ably and loyally served The Hill's math and humanties departments from 1971
to 1983. He earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from
Ohio State University. He enthusiastically and successfully led the School's
swim team during his tenure.
A brief and informal service will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2005 at
12:00 p.m. at the Park of Roses located on North High Street in Columbus
A detailed tribute to Jim will be featured in an upcoming issue of Hill Ties.
Undated (circa Fall 2001) letter to Jim Blesse
Dear old, old friend and classmate.
Two things occurred this spring which led me to write this letter after many years of silence. The first was an e-mail from
Jim Bleese about Jack Lawrence. The second was the publication of my book, "The Red Wolves," more about that
After failing the English make up exam, I returned to Columbus and enrolled at Ohio State for summer quarter. I also started
to coach a local swim team. I swam for OSU, but no scholarship was forth coming. My only claims to fame were limited that fall
to when in a time trial, I recorded a time in the 200 breaststroke, an event I hated, four seconds faster than the West Point
Record. I did win the state title in the 100 breast in the summer of 1960 and qualified for the Olympic trials, which I choose
to fore go.
I did make the all-intramural touch football team and started to work in a college bar. Tom Malley, class of 62 attended OSU
and worked at the Varsity Club with me. Later he was killed here in Columbus by a drunk driver.
My previous service did nothing to protect me from the draft, so I joined the reserve and was on active duty at Fort Knox,
and Fort Sill.
In 1966 after changing majors three times, physics, math, and finally history, I graduated and went to teach math in Florida.
After a fun, but poorly paid year, I returned to Ohio State for summer school and then to a school outside of Chicago to Teach
and coach. The base salary was 50% higher. I also coached at a private club and worked with a world record holder.
Just when I decided to return to Ohio State and finish my masters, I also was to be a graduate assistant for the swimming
team, and tend bar, I was recalled by our fearless leader, Lynden Johnson, who thought my skills as an FDC were vital to the war
effort. They sent me to Fort Carson and assigned to the very upset Kansas National guard which was becoming part of the
2nd Mech. They placed me in an infantry unit and were going to train me as a front line anti-infiltration radar
operator, something that looked like a bad deal. A General from Washington arrived to smooth things out with the Guard and us
reserves who were helping out, by telling us how vital we were. I told him before the
assembled troops, that I did posses a critical MOS as an FDC, but why was I in an infantry unit?
The next day or so all of the artillery reservists in the unit were transferred to the artillery battalion. That was good,
except they had more FDCs than they could use. I ended up with four other college grads running the motor pool's record section.
Just as a reference, when the NG arrived at Carson, the enlisted men were three years older than their RA counterparts and three
more years of school. We reservists were two to three years older than the NG and had at least two more years of college. My
companions in the motor pool were a salesman from 3M with a BS in Chemistry, a social worker at the Memminger clinic, and a law
It proved an interesting summer; we partied with the captains and majors. All of us reservists had uniforms so old, they still
had white name tags, and we would declare one day a week as "White Name Tag Day," and go around asking everyone why
they didn't have a white name tab.
I discovered that we had a base swimming team and went to see if they needed a coach, they didn't, but they needed a
breaststroker. I reluctantly agreed, and it got me out of almost everything. They discovered that I really didn't like to
practice that well. However, I got the last laugh and won the Fifth Army 100m breaststroke championship.
While encouraging all my fellow reservists to enroll at Colorado College's graduate program which the army paid for, and would
keep us from guard duty or other things that might interfere with our education, a friend of mine discovered a wonderful loop
hole. For years the time we spent at WP did not count against our draft commitment or time in service. Someone changed the rule.
There always was an enlisted man's joke, that if they told you that you could go home if you cleared post in 24 hours, you
could go. Twenty-four hours after I started to clear Fort Carson, I was aboard a plane at the airport. I will admit I cheated;
I signed myself out of motor pool and faked my dental records. They even paid me for two more years of seniority and back
dated it for all of the summer.
I arrived back in Columbus and finished all my work for my masters in three quarters (a total of four). I saw the 1968
undefeated National Champion football team. I finished my master's thesis and secured a teaching/coaching job at
Staunton MA in Virginia. That was an interesting two years. Besides teaching math, I coached swimming and track at
the school and coached the local YMCA and two different summer teams.
A job opened at The Hill School in Pottstown Pennsylvania for a math teacher and swim coach. The Hill was and still is
something unique. The first twelve weeks were worse than beast. Once swimming season started, and I stayed for thirteen years.
During that span I had one national Prep School Swimming Champion, one State Water Polo Champion team, and a ton of
all-Americans. I attended Lehigh and finished all my course work for my Ph.D. I was All American Chairman and a board member for
the National HS Swim Coaches Assn. I also receive my 25 year award from the Red Cross and a ten year award from Special Olympics.
Due to the urging of the father of one of my swimmers and one of my All-Americans who went to West Point, I joined the AOG.
I took my team annually to both West Point and Annapolis. The first year Navy had their new pool we set one pool record and five
metric Prep School Records
Finally in 1983, several events headed me back to Columbus. First my father was in poor health and needed someone closer than
my brother in Tacoma or my sister in Maine. Father lived sixteen more years. Second, I had become very tired of working in an
all-male environment and went to chase dreams and skirts in Columbus. I did run around for a number of years with the women who
the heroine of my book is based on. I have worked in both adult and juvenile correctional education programs.
I finally started to try to write six or so years ago. Now, I like to think that's what I do for a living. That brings us
back to the book. Having flunked English, I was reluctant to start, but was sure I could give it a try. Spelling was my downfall
at USMA, but computers, bless their little black hearts, can help.
Final thoughts: check out the book at either amazon.com or rutledgebooks.com. Please buy a copy. It was fun to write and I
hope fun to read. If someone would suggest that I come to the 40th, I just might.
From my trips to West Point with my team. "The Corps has", and 61 is still second to none.
Columbus, Ohio 43206
Assembly/Taps Memorial Article:
James J. Weaver, Jr. ex-'61
24Sep1939-3Sep2005 • Died in Dublin, OH
Ashes scattered at .his favorite park
in Columbus, OH
James Jacob Weaver, Jr. was "found" in English, but he
later wrote and published three books, earned a bachelor's and master's degree
in history, and completed courses for a Ph.D. As a professor, he had a profound
influence on his students, and throughout his life he excelled in swimming, as a
competitor and as a coach.
Jim was born in Columbus, OH, to Charlotte Addison and James
J. Weaver, Sr. and was proud of his German ancestry. His older sister Mary and
younger brother John provided a competitive sibling intellectual environment. In
1957, Jim graduated from University High School, located on the campus of the
Ohio State University. He was a National Merit Scholar, played football and
basketball, and was on the swim team.
After receiving an appointment to West Point, Jim eagerly
entered with the Class of 1961. He excelled in the sciences and thrived on the
physical demands placed upon him. One roommate said, "He was extremely
intelligent in the sciences. In Russian, lie would study some from the book, but
when it was time to go to sleep, he would turn on a tape recorder and fall to
sleep listening to Russian lessons ... Jim was very proud of his swimming
abilities." He lettered in swimming, but his "inability to spell" contributed to
his being "declared deficient" in English at the end of his Yearling year.
Jim returned to Columbus and entered Ohio State, where he
swam competitively for a year before his interest shifted to coaching. He said
his only claims to fame were: recording a time in the 200-meter breaststroke
(during a time trial) that was four seconds faster than the existing West Point
record; and winning the Ohio state title in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1960,
thus qualifying for the Olympic trials. In 1963, Jim coached a local high school
swim team before joining the Army Reserve and serving at Ft. Knox, KY, and Ft.
In 1966, Jim graduated from Ohio State and taught mathematics
in Florida for a year. He then moved to Chicago, where he taught and coached
swimming, before being recalled into the Army in 1968. Later, Jim said someone
must have thought his skills as an artilleryman were vital to the Viet Nam War
effort. He was stationed at Ft. Carson, CO, and assigned to an Infantry unit in
the Kansas National Guard for training as a front line anti-infiltration
radar operator—which Jim said "looked like a bad deal." Ultimately, he was
transferred to the Artillery battalion, and Jim said, "that was good except they
had more personnel in my MOS than they could use, so I ended up running the
records section in the motor pool. It proved to be an interesting summer."
While there, he won the Fifth Army 100 Meter Breaststroke Championship.
Upon returning to Columbus, Jim finished his master's degree
and, in 1969, moved to Staunton Military Academy in Virginia. There, he taught
math and coached swimming and track; he also coached the local YMCA swim team.
In 1971, Jim accepted a position as mathematics instructor and swim coach at The
Hill School in Pottstown, PA, where he founded the water polo program. As
testimony to his success, in 1978, his team won the Pennsylvania State High
School Water Polo Championship, and, in 1979, The Hill's swimming team was named
National Prep School Champions by Swimming World magazine. Annually, he
took his team to West Point and Annapolis. The first year Navy had their new
pool, Jim's team set one pool record and five metric prep school records.
In 1983, Jim left The Hill School and returned to Columbus.
There, he taught at a juvenile detention center and became involved in a college
program for inmates at a local state correctional facility. Once again, Jim
returned to swimming and, in 2001, accepted a coaching job in Lima, OH, where he
coached the YMCA boys' and girls' swim teams.
An avid reader, Jim's apartment was crammed with military,
history, sports, and political science books. He also wrote and published three
books: The Red Wolves(1998), The Serbian Black Hand (2002), and
Q-Zids —The Devils (2004). These historically-based fictional pieces
demonstrated his expansive imagination by placing people he knew in various
character roles. Ironically, Jim was reluctant to start writing due to his
spelling ability, but he found an ally. He said, "spelling was my downfall at
USMA, but computers, bless their little black hearts, can help."
Jim had planned to attend his West Point 40th Reunion but
cancelled his reservation when he took a new coaching job. His feelings were
evident in a letter which he concluded with, "From my trips to West Point with
my team, The Corps has and '61 is still second to none."
In September of 2005, Jim lost his battle with cancer. A West
Point roommate reflected, "... it is very easy to see from his West Point days
that he would continue academic and swimming pursuits; [and] would inspire
younger people in swimming and academics ... Jim would be delighted to bring
young swimmers back to West Point, a place where he was proud to have spent some
time; and Jim would succeed in writing just to show "them" that they made a
mistake.... I really believe that West Point taught him discipline and exposed
him to cadets from many walks of life and with varied abilities in so many
different areas, but that the important phases of Jim's life in terms of
contributions to others occurred after he left West Point. We can only hope that
West Point in some way contributed to his later achievements."
Grier Schaffer, one of Jims students and friends at The Hill
School, wrote a memorial article that was published in Hill Ties. He
said, "with his student-athletes as his score-card, Jim Weaver unquestionably
registered a memorable win with each one of us. We will miss him," and so will
his West Point classmates. Well done, Jim! Be thou at peace.
—-Jim's friends and classmates
MAY/JUNE 2007 TAPS 65