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The Potato Association of America

Jim Zalewski

2014 Honorary Life Member Jim Zalewski’s Obituary

James C. “Jimmy” Zalewski 1945 ~ 2014 James C. “Jimmy ” Zalewski, 68, Boise ID, died at his home on May 30, 2014, of pancreatic cancer. Friends, family and Jackie were at his side. Jim was born to Sally and Stan Zalewski on October 7, 1945, in Antigo, Wisconsin. He graduated from Antigo High School, and earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Master of Science in Plant Pathology and Doctorate in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin.

Jim’s professional career spanned five decades-plus, culminating in his induction into The Potato Association of America’s Honorary Life Membership Award in 2014. His contributions to research, education, and leadership; his guidance, mentoring, and unstinting support of aspiring scientists had a major impact within the trade. His resume reads like a who’s who entry of plant pathology giants. Professor of Plant Pathology at Oregon State, Director of Ag Research at Ore-Ida, researcher at Naturemark (Monsanto), private potato field consultant for regional farmers in the Treasure Valley area, Director of Research and Development to 1,4 Group being but a few of the highlights. As an associate noted in a letter nominating him for The PAA award, Jim was so much more than any resume could ever illustrate….

Jim and Jackie Dakin were married in 1969. Native Wisconsinites, they quickly became ‘natives’ of any place they settled, gathering circles of friends to them through their enthusiasm, love of life, and each other. Their deep regard for friends and friendship were demonstrated in myriad ways, and to spend an evening with them, or better yet an extended outing, was to see the poetry of two people enamored with the world. They traveled extensively, loved fishing, golfing, good food, frosty beverages after a long day of mushroom hunting. They found delight in the whole of life, and passed it on in spades.

Jim will be missed by all who knew him, ranging from business leaders to young students, countless friends and loving family. He had a gift for inspiring, for firing the imagination, for instilling confidence when uncertainty flared. He was a walking demonstration of how to get ‘er done, and he did it with compassion, care, honesty, class. Two Jimisms: “Stop me if you’ve heard this,” & “That reminds me of a story,” signaled the onset of joke time, story time, Jim time – at his grinning best. He was one of the greatest bad joke tellers of all time, mangling punch lines, missing segments – whole chunks – but never missing a beat as far at laughing at himself in the process, sweeping you up in his mirth, making you laugh just to hear him spin a tale. A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at the home of JoAnne & Jeff Smith’s at a later date…

Donations can be made to (MSTI) Boise, or St. Luke’s Hospice.