“It’s not about how much we give, but about how much we put in giving.”
Saint Mother Teresa
A little bit about James Edward Deming, better known as “Jimbo”. Whenever I see this quote, I think Mother Teresa must have known Jimbo. Jimbo is a kind, compassionate, empathetic and joyful man. He and I have been married over 35 years and have one son, Casey James Maguire Deming. Casey is now 28 years old. When in high school, Casey went through Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and still continues yearly follow up hospital visits.
Jimbo was born and raised in Rome, New York. During summers, he visited his mom’s family in Charlotte, N.C. Jimbo was a carpenter when I first met him in Florida. He is 6’1”, a gentle giant with a big heart and a loving spirit. After Casey was born, he left his passion, carpentry and secured a full time position as Crew Chief at the Department of Public Works at Atlantic Beach so he could properly provide for his family. He retired after 25 years. It is Jimbo who designed and built all the lifeguard chairs you see lining our beaches!!
Jimbo has been retired from Public Works for 6 years. Not one to sit around, he has been working actively since his retirement for Episcopal School of Jacksonville, University of North Florida, Florida State College, Jacksonville University and the Moran Theatre as a member of the labor union IATSE as a theatre technician. Jimbo’s work schedule was booked throughout this spring. He would still be working but for this illness. His work ethic is renowned and his joyful and kind spirit greatly appreciated. Jimbo is the kind of person who leaves a place better than when he found it.
Jimbo’s spiritual life is very full. He is a Deacon at Palms Presbyterian Church where both he and I run a regularly scheduled service called, “Shalom Sabbath, Healing and Wholeness.” Jimbo is part of the prayer team and serves on the committee for Building and Grounds for Presbyterian. Jimbo is detailed oriented in everything he pursues. Jimbo and I visited hospitals for many years, were missionaries in Haiti and ran the early morning, cold-weather shelter for the homeless cooking early morning breakfast. Jimbo is well known and loved throughout the beaches community.
After church on Sunday, you’ll see Jimbo at Everbank field rooting on his favorite team, the Jaguars. He has been a season ticket holder from day one.
For the past 35 years, Jimbo and I have been Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus for the beaches community. Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus always ask each child, “what have you done for others,” before any child gets to share what they want for Christmas. Children now come prepared with a list to share with Mr. & Mrs. Claus of things they have done for others throughout the year. I would like to share some of the highlights Jimbo experienced as Santa:
• One child said to Santa, “you forgot where I lived. You didn’t come last year. Jimbo got his address and made sure that Santa visited the whole family.
• A little deaf girl sat on Santa’s lap and started signing. Santa knew how to sign “I love you” and did so. The little girl looked at Santa and hugged him deeply. Her parents, crying, said “this is better than any present.”
So, as you see, Jimbo is an extraordinary person who always gives back. Even now, in his condition, he is doing this. Doctors, nurses and patients gravitate to his light and pure love and joy. Jimbo and I wake up each day with a joyful, prayerful and grateful heart and wrap up each day with a prayer. Let’s give him his best shot.
Praise be to God,
Sally Maguire Deming