It is with great sadness that I relate the recent death of Jim Westmoreland, an outstanding longtime volunteer of FIRST. Jim was involved in every level of FIRST, but mostly known for his mentoring of teams in Texas and more recently, as Head Ref of the Lonestar and Smoky Mountain regionals. He also refereed the Peachtree regional, Championships and off season events. In fact, if you can volunteer to do it for FIRST, Jim has probably done it. Aviation, robotics and family were Jim’s primary passions.
Jim was an engineer for Lockheed Martin and well known within the company as an expert in their plane’s electrical systems. He was also a veteran of the Marine Corps.
Jim was killed in an automobile accident Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011. He is survived by his wife Terresa, two grown sons, one grandchild, his parents, a brother and a sister.
All of us in Jim’s local FIRST family are deeply saddened by his sudden passing, but Jim’s robotics family extended far beyond Georgia. Please add your own remembrances of Jim’s unique contributions in this thread.
:’( Another one lost. RIP Jim :’(
On behalf of Team 1676, we all send our most sincere condolences and respects to all of Jim’s family and friends. Please let us know if there is any way at all that we can help. While I did not know him personally, I’m sure our mentors did, and we are very grateful for all he did to help support FIRST and its community. We hope Jim rests in peace.
From team 3481, we send our deepest regards to Jim’s friends and family. We thank him for his outstanding commitment to robotics and we are deeply saddened by his loss.
May Jim rest in peace.
On behalf of all of team 1515, I extend my deepest condolences to all of Jim’s family and friends in addition to all those in the FIRST community who had the privilege of knowing him.
He lead a stellar referee crew year after year @ Lone Star and one always knew the calls would be fair and delivered with an honest smile.
The good ones are always missed by many in many places. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Another great FIRST volunteer that I didn’t get the chance to meet until it was too late. My condolences to Jim’s family and friends.
Please pass along our wishes to his friends and family. Jim was a great guy and will be sorely missed. He was one of those mentors that the rest of us hope to be.
Does anyone have a picture? I’m trying to put a face to the name.
Regardless, his death hits close to our region and even closer to our hearts.
Team 1261 and I wish his family well.
I’ve only met Jim a couple times, but I can tell he was one of the nicest FIRST volunteers that I’ve ever met. I remember us having some trouble during practice day getting our robot to connect to the field, the field crew is trying to get matches going, and Jim comes over with a calm but cheerful look on his face and tells us to take our time and was very patient with us sorting out our issues. You can tell that he genuinely cared. He will be missed.
On behalf of Team 1477, we send our condolences to Jim’s family and friends.
I am deeply deeply saddened by this news. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jim’s family and I share my sadness with the family and with Jim’s many friends and colleagues as we try to comprehend this loss.
One of the greatest lessons that I learned from Jim Westmoreland was the gift of patience. He taught patience by being patient. Watching him work with teams on the field during the heat of competition was something that I will never forget. His work with teams, and how he dealt with students and mentors, was a very important key to unlocking the door that revealed the bigger picture of FRC to me. I have always viewed him as a wonderful role model for all of us and I will miss that. I guess I took that for granted, thinking he would be with us for many years to come - sharing his gracious smile and teaching us in his quiet way.
It has been several years but I am really glad that I took the time to find Mr. Westmoreland at one of the Championships hosted in Atlanta, Georgia. It was one of those seasons that had created opportunities for high emotions on the field and the captain of our drive team had waited patiently in the question box for Mr. Westmoreland to come talk with him about a play in one of the matches. They discussed the play and the student commented later about the respect that he was shown by the head ref, even though he still felt very strongly about his views regarding the play. I wanted to take a moment to thank Mr. Westmoreland for teaching patience and for role modeling respect and grace for the students on our drive team that year at Lone Star Regional. I had the opportunity at the Championship and, although I was very shy in doing so, I took it. He remembered that exchange in the question box and in doing so, I couldn’t help but think that Jim remembered every exchange that he ever had in a question box. It gave me a sense of well-being and trust.
It’s going to take a while to absorb this news… we’ve lost someone really special.
P.S. I looked in the photo section of the Lone Star Regional website and found a couple of photos of Jim in the 2009 volunteer album. This is one of the photos. Here’s another very special moment shared with our Lone Star Regional Director, Lucia Sevcik. This was 2007.
I feel this way every time I read one of these threads. We’ve lost many great role models this year and Jim is certainly one of them.
Oh man, finally putting a name to the face. And I fully concur with James. I remember when the competition would be heating up and I’d go to put the robot down, Mr. Westmoreland would be there with a smile and he’d share the occasional uplifting comment.
Really a sad day.