1930 – 2007
To his students, colleagues and friends, Dr. James C. Stribling, IV, was a teacher, family man, scholar, outdoorsman, humorist, intellectual, mentor, role model, communicator, and cowboy philosopher. To his family, he was son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
While he was many things to many people, ‘Jim’ mostly considered himself a’fence-builder, fighter, wild-hoss rider, and right-good windmill man.’
A former ranchman and Emeritus Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Jim passed away at home in College Station on Friday after an extended illness.
Born in 1930 in San Saba, Tx., Jim descended from a long line of Texas cattlemen. He spent his formative years on ranches in the Texas Hill Country and in West Texas, working cattle and later managing large herds for his father, J.C. Stribling, III, who bought and sold cattle from ranches in West Texas and Oklahoma.
In 1964, Jim climbed out of his saddle and into a university classroom, where he stayed in some capacity until his retirement in 1997.
Jim joined Texas A-M in 1967 as a graduate student in the Recreation and Parks Department, bringing with him extensive range management experience. He worked for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service as resource development specialist while completing his masters in and PhD in Recreation and Parks.
According to a former colleague, ‘Jim has been no mere observer of life. His insights come from busted knuckles and rolling sweat as much as from the Journal of Leisure Research.’
While the world was his classroom, Jim started his formal extension and teaching career in recreation resources development in 1969. From the very beginning, teaching for Jim was never just the transmittal of knowledge, but the process of acquiring knowledge.
‘He taught us to think,’ said a friend and former colleague. ‘He was able to challenge his peers and students as few can,’ said another.
But his teaching career was never limited to academia. He devoted his life to teaching everyone–kids, grandkids, students-but not so you’d really know it. It was always disguised by compassion and caring, and delivered with a good-old-boy sense of humor that belied his intellect. ‘On more than one occasion, he pulled my leg so hard that I still walk with a limp,’ said a former colleague.
‘No one would question Jim’s knowledge or intellect,’ said a close friend and former colleague. ‘Most of us marveled at it. But he never used it as a hammer. He used it to take others on a discovery walk.’
But Jim’s world was about more than just teaching. It was about family–his wife of 51 years, his five children, his nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.
‘Whenever you asked Jim about his family (especially his grandchildren), he would bubble over with pride,’ said a friend. ‘His affection for kids is legendary.’
And his life was about the outdoors. A consummate sportsman, much of Jim’s life was spent with friends and family, in a boat or a deer blind, enjoying the beauty and mystery of the Texas countryside.
Jim Stribling lived the landhe worked the landhe taught the landhe loved the land.
Survivors include: wife, Diane, of College Station; son Jimmy and daughter-in-law Janet, of Fluvana, Tx; son Mark and daughter-in-law Cindy, of Eugene, Or.; son Mike, of College Station; son Steve and daughter-in-law Janet, of Navasota, Tx; daughter Stephanie Thigpen and son-in-law Stephen, of College Station; brother Phil Stribling of Wimberley, Tx.; nine grandchildren and one great-granchild.
A memorial service to celebrate Jim’s life is being held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007, at Christ United Methodist Church in College Station.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be given to the scholarship fund in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A-M University, or to the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Texas.