James Eugene “Jim” Wellington, 72, a child of God, servant, husband, father, family man, teacher, counselor, mentor, friend, athlete, joke-teller, handkerchief puppet master, and all around wonderful man, is now in the presence of his creator.
Little Jimmie was born on April 14, 1944, the son of Howard “Wink” Wellington and Marcella “Midge” Wellington, in Circleville. Born the younger brother to Robert Wellington (Wooster), Jim always looked up to his older brother.
Baseball was a passion for the Wellington boys, a game they learned from their father. If asked who was the best ball player in the family, Jim, without hesitation, would reply, “my father,” quickly followed up by, “but I was the fastest.”
A graduate of Circleville High School in 1962, Jim excelled in both baseball and basketball. Jim continued his baseball career in college, playing second base for the Capital University Crusaders.
In his spare time off the diamond, Jim attended classes and graduated in 1968 with a degree in history and government and a minor in health and physical education. Jim later went on to receive his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Ohio University in 1970.
The biggest accomplishment of Jim’s college career, however, was meeting the love of his life, Cheri, on a blind date. Jim and Cheri were married on July 28, 1968, and began a journey that would last 48 years and one day.
Jim was the father to six, Jennifer (Scott) Homer, Kara (Mike) Aranda, Nathan (Charity), Jonathan (Jaclyn), Bethany (Jason) Cottrill and Caryn (Sean) Gorby.
Ask any one of them, and they will tell you about the quiet strength, tender spirit, gentle heart and selfless attitude of their father. Jim’s playful spirit was always on full display when he was around his children. Notes on napkins in lunches with stick figure drawings and handkerchief bunnies were staples for Jim. Jim’s wit and light-hearted humor were often implemented in an effort to encourage and entertain those around him, even if it made his wife blush (which was often).
There is nothing in this world that Jim loved more than his wife and his children, not even baseball or pecan pie. Jim was a man of faith who would pray first and act second. Jim was a man that truly reflected the image of Christ.
Jim attended Lancaster Community Church, where he humbly served God and the congregation as an elder. Prior to LCC, Jim served locally in leadership at Powerhouse Christian Church, Covenant Christian Church and First Presbyterian.
Jim worked as an educator and a counselor in the Lancaster community for nearly 50 years. Jim began his career as an educator at the Fairfield School for Boys. Upon completion of his master’s degree, Jim began working for Lancaster City Schools as a guidance counselor and Ohio history teacher. Jim also worked as a crisis intervention counselor at Fairfield Medical Center for seven years.
For the last 25 years, Jim served as an academic advisor at Ohio University-Lancaster and vowed to never retire because he loved his job, his students and his colleagues. Jim will be forever remembered as a man whose reach far exceeded his physical presence. As a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a child of God and as an educator, Jim will continue to impact the way in which we all live, not by his words but by the way in which he lived his life.
Jim consistently taught others how to love, how to laugh and how to extend grace. In times where hearts were hard, Jim’s was soft. In times that warranted anger, Jim acted with compassion. In moments of achievement, Jim embraced humility. In times of failure, Jim encouraged. In situations of spite, Jim extended love. Where justice was deserved, Jim acted with mercy. And in spaces of difference, Jim never passed judgment. It is these characteristics and lessons that raised his six children and will continue to inform the lives of his 16 grandchildren and three great-granddaughters.
Jim ended his fight with cancer on July 29, 2016, at his home, surround by his wife and family. Jim did not lose his fight with cancer. Cancer was unable to quench his spirit, tame his humor or diminish his faith in God. Jim’s eternal salvation has been granted through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and he is now playing in the greatest baseball game of his life!
Jim was preceded in death by his father, “Wink”; his mother, “Midge”; and his great-granddaughter, Abygail.
Calling hours will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, at Lancaster Community Church, 230 N. Columbus St., Lancaster. A time of worship and a celebration of Jim’s life will be held at the church at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 10, 2016.
Those who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of Jim to Lancaster Community Church or Fairhope Hospice, 282 Sells Rd., Lancaster, Ohio 43130.
Caring Cremation has taken place through the Frank E. Smith Funeral Home. Online condolences can be made at www.funeralhome.com.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal