Jim Formanek "Big Dreams" Memorial Scholarship

This Gofundme is set up to help organize donations for the Jim Formanek "Big Dreams" Memorial Scholarship. On Wednesday, June 1st, 2022, Jim Formanek passed away from complications due to cancer. Jimmy wanted to establish a scholarship at his high school so, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to this memorial fund. See below for more information.
The Jim Formanek “Big Dreams” Memorial Scholarship is an annual fund set up for Webster High School seniors to help them follow their dreams.

Jim Formanek, graduate of the class of 1990 from Webster High School, was a passionate dreamer. Not only did Jim follow his dreams, he was also an enthusiastic champion of everyone he encountered. This award is for a student who has a dream they wish to pursue, no matter how bold or out there it may seem. The student must be a senior at Webster High School. There is no academic merit attached to this scholarship; the award is for a student with heart and passion, and is meant to help future dreamers fulfill their greatest ambitions and know they have a cheerleader with them along the way. 


James Patrick Formanek (“Jimmy”), age 50, a resident of Inglewood, CA, and a talented artist, skilled prankster, and devotee of Tom Waits, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Batman, died on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, CA, of complications resulting from cancer. 

A “later in life” child to parents James and Violet Formanek, Jimmy was born on March 28, 1972, in St. Paul, MN, and moved to Webster, WI, in 1979. As a young boy, he loved exploring, climbing trees, and hanging around with family, especially his brother Dennis and his niece Traci. Funny, charming, engaging, and easy going, Jimmy was always “on” as a child. Forever the favorite, he was always willing to perform comedic roles, and loved making people laugh. 

In high school, Jimmy played drums in the concert band, marching band and pep band, and was active in school plays, memorably playing the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. He played football and hockey, and while he regarded himself as the worst athlete ever, he loved being a part of the team. He is still remembered as one of Webster High School’s finest. Jim followed his interest in theater arts and graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. 

A passionate, generous, well-trained theater actor with a gift for improv,  Jimmy’s love of entertainment led him to Hollywood where he earned his IMDB page with a few featured roles in independent films. Jim then joined The Jim Henson Company in 2000, in an administrative position that he self-titled “assistant president.” He was quickly recognized for his true talent as an appreciator and collector of all things nerdy and geeky, and went on to lead the company’s consumer products development for over fifteen years, applying his meticulous eye for detail and whimsy to the products, publishing, collectibles, and clothing of beloved brands like Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. Jim described his role saying, “I make toys and read comic books for a living. Basically, I am Tom Hanks in the movie Big.” At the office, he was also known for having treats for visiting dogs, toys for visiting children, and donuts and candy for no reason at all.

Outside of work, Jim enjoyed spending time with his close knit “LA family,” notably hosting holidays, and camping and hiking at Joshua Tree each year on his birthday. A voracious reader, he could converse knowledgeably on a myriad of topics, allowing him to find common ground with just about everyone he met. Friends and colleagues also regarded Jim as a highly gifted yet humble visual artist, holding original “JF” drawings and paintings among their greatest treasures. 

Jimmy is predeceased by his parents and is survived by his stepmother Jean Formanek, sister Debbie Maloney (Tim Maloney), brothers Dave Formanek (Robyn Formanek) and Dennis Formanek (Laura Formanek), and his beloved nieces and nephews (Traci, Bryan, Danielle, Cassidy, Joey, Dan, Sarah, and Joshua), along with his many cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, colleagues, puppets, pets, and superheroes who miss him dearly.

Celebrations honoring Jimmy will be held over the summer in Hollywood, CA and Webster, WI. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the scholarship that has been established in Jimmy’s memory at Webster High School.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Friends of Jim Formanek
Los Angeles, CA
David Formanek

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