By Ila Preti
Born in Iowa, he grew up in Spencer and enjoyed a summer home on nearby Lake Okoloji. He graduated from the State University of Iowa as a pharmacist. After college he married and, searching for a developing area to begin his career, explored California and Florida. Sarasota was the choice! Moving here, he worked at the Liggett Drug Store at Five Points for three years before buying the store. Unfortunately, the store burned down in 1979; it was not rebuilt.
In 1977, Jim had developed the Gold Tree Plaza on Tuttle, which included a Liggett Drug Store. His son, Doug, is now running that store. He has two other sons: Matt is in college and Scott owns the Bath and Racquet Club.
Home was, for many years, on Siesta Key; later moving to Bent Tree. He has also enjoyed a home in Bryson City, North Carolina, for 25 years, where he is still involved in land development on a lovely lake.
Becoming very deeply involved in civic affairs and the development of downtown Sarasota, Jim was a member of the City Planning Board, founder and president of the Downtown Association, director of
the Sarasota County Chamber of Commerce board, district president of West Coast of Florida Jaycees, charter member of the Forest Lake Country Club, member of Kiwanis and Sertoma, a thirty-year member of the Elks, and is a past president of the Sarasota Chapter of “Who’s Who International.”
As a resident of Siesta Key, he was president and director of Sand Dollar Lane Homeowners Association, of Siesta Tower Condo Association, director of the Siesta Key board and director of the Save our Sands Committee.
With his busy life, Jim still found time to play golf and to enjoy membership in several Sarasota country clubs. His love for downhill skiing took him to Colorado, Utah, and other western slopes; he also took yearly trips to ski in Norway, Austria, and Italy, with side visits to England, Greece, Norway, Sweden, France, Netherlands, and the countryside of western Europe. Three European river cruises were especially enjoyed. His apartment is beautifully decorated with treasures and artwork that he acquired on his many trips.
While his busy life has slowed down a lot, Jim now finds a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction in spending time with the many friends he made over the years. He also enjoys making new friends at Plymouth Harbor.