Thursday, May 19, 2011

James 'Jim' F. DiMarco

James “Jim” Frederick DiMarco, age 75, passed away Thursday, May 19, 2011, at the Golden Living Center, Glendale, WI. Jim died peacefully after years of coping with Alzheimer’s disease.

Jim was born in Cloquet, MN, December 4, 1935, only child of the late Leo A. and Lillian (Nee: Wall) DiMarco. He and his parents lived briefly in St. Paul, MN. They then settled in Superior, Wisconsin, where Jim attended the University LAB School, then went to Superior Central High School, graduating in 1954. Furthering his education, Jim attended the Institute of Technology, School of Chemical Engineering, at the University of Minnesota from 1954 – 1959.

On June 20, 1959, he was united in marriage in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Janet F. (Nee: Jordan). They met during freshman orientation week at the University of Minnesota, remained friends over the years, and were wed one week after his graduation from the College of Chemical Engineering, B.S.

They moved to his hometown, Superior, WI, where Jim had accepted a position as Process Engineer for Murphy Oil Refinery, where he had interned two previous summers. He worked there until September 1962, while also completing his eight-year military commitment as a radar technician in the Air Force National Guard/Duluth AFBase in June 1962  with the rank of staff sergeant.

In October 1962 he returned to the University of Minnesota to earn his Master's degree in the Carlson School of Business. In one year he took the maximum number of courses while working half-time and supporting a family of five. He graduated with honors in May 1964.

Jim accepted a position at S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. in Racine, WI. He was hired as a Manufacturing Process Engineer in September 1963. He held many positions within the company, retiring as Senior Vice President Worldwide Consumer Products – Research, Development and Engineering in 1998 after 34+ years of service.

Among Jim’s greatest joys was helping Waxdale create their first automatic batching system. Another was being part of the team that built SCJ’s first computer, which occupied a complete building. He found the complexities of working with Communist countries challenging and educational, and was part of setting up a Johnson Company in China. He made friends wherever he traveled, and was highly respected by those who knew him.

Jim was affiliated with professional groups. He was a past president of the Wisconsin branch of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, a member of the International Economic Council, the Industrial Research Institute, The Wisconsin Association of Research Management, and the Strategic Planning Institute.

In the community he was one of the founders and past president and chairman of the Racine Economic Development Corporation, a member of the Racine County Air Pollution Control Board, helped CATI in their early days by connecting people with new skills with companies who agreed to hire them. He was actively involved in testing our local beaches and rivers and uncovering sources of pollution.

Jim was a lifelong learner and teacher. He was an avid reader, historian, tennis player, walker, loyal family man and friend. Jim also enjoyed classical music, live theater, and traveling. As his dementia increased, many loyal friends stood by him and visited him at home and at his care facilities. His family will be forever grateful to them, as well as those who stood by his family as his disease progressed. The staff at the Golden Living Center was loving and professional. Thank you all.

Jim leaves to mourn his loss: his wife, Janet; their children, Angela (John) Bylancik of Verona, NJ, Vivian (Chris) Nelson of Brookfield, WI, Steve (Margaret) DiMarco of Chanhassen, MN; his grandchildren, Mark and Kristina Bylancik, Jenny and Steve Nelson, Dan and Laura DiMarco, the Seattle DiMarcos and the Ehlert family in Michigan.

There will be no public visitation or service. Jim’s family would be most grateful to those who are willing to share memories of him through contacting them at

Jim’s favorite place to walk was the Racine Zoo. That was a reason he thought Racine would be a good place to live. Four generations of DiMarcos have now enjoyed it. He wanted our family to memorialize him through donations to the Racine Zoological Society, that everyone in the community could share his joy. We’re thinking possibly electric scooters or wheelchairs to enable the handicapped to see Racine’s little piece of paradise. We invite those so inclined to join us in this ambitious endeavor.

“Jim’s spirit will always be with us.”

803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888

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