Funeral notices, January 15, 2023
Jim Kolbe was a man known not only for his convictions, work ethic and integrity, but also for a kindness, warmth, humility and generosity that illuminated everything he did in life. Jim’s accomplishments are astounding. Being born to an independent-minded rancher from Arizona and a chic candy heiress from Chicago helped shape Jim’s independent personality and integrity-filled values. A true pioneer, Jim left a legacy that makes the world a better place through his tireless efforts to preserve precious lands and cultural treasures, create sound economic policies, and promote free trade and The North American Free Trade Agreement. He touched our lives in many ways – most of all as a true friend. He was many things to many people: a devoted and loving husband to Héctor Alfonso; a generous brother and uncle to his siblings and nieces and nephews; and the bright son of Walter and Helen Kolbe, who was determined to continue with a plan formed early in his youth: to begin a career in politics. He was successful on many fronts and was most proud of his role as a mentor to young men and women who benefited from his wisdom, experience and expert advice. His plan took him on an extraordinary journey, from the page in the US Senate, to a BA degree from Northwestern University, international study abroad in cities in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, to an MBA from Stanford University , commander of swift ship operations in the US Navy during the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Valor, six years of service in the Arizona Senate, and twenty-two years of outstanding service in the US House of Representatives . After his retirement from Congress, Jim became the Transatlantic Senior Fellow for the German Marshall Fund, served on the board of advisors of McLarty Associates, and founded JTK Consulting representing the interests of Arizona clients in the US Congress. Born in Evanston Illinois on June 28, 1942 to Walter and Helen Kolbe, Jim soon became an Arizona boy at the age of 5 when his family moved to their last cattle ranch, the Rail X Ranch, near Patagonia. He attended elementary and high school in Patagonia until the age of 15 when he began his political career as a page in the US Senate, appointed by Senator Barry Goldwater. He graduated valedictorian of his class from Capitol Page School in 1960. His many years of community service included serving on the boards of directors of numerous organizations, educational institutions and non-profit organizations in Arizona and Washington DC. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He received numerous awards and honors, most notably the George C. Marshall Award for Distinguished Service, the John S. McCain Lifetime Service Award to Arizona, the Tucson Man of the Year, the 2006 Arizona Heritage Award, and induction into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. Jim is survived by his loving husband, Héctor Alfonso, sisters Beth Kolbe and Ginny Rousseau, sister-in-law, Mary Kolbe, several nieces and nephews and great grandchildren, and many friends and colleagues. A Memorial Service for Jim will be held Saturday, January 28, 3:00 PM at the Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway Blvd, Tucson. In lieu of flowers, contributions to any of the following charities in Jim Kolbe’s memory are greatly appreciated: Southern Arizona Community Food Bank, Casa de los Niños, Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center, James T Scholarship Fund. Kolbe at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.