James Kinlaw

james kinlaw
James Kinlaw (81) passed away in Fargo, ND on November 30, 2021. James Kinlaw was born on July 3rd, 1940 at Independence, Louisiana to A.J. and Olga Ott Kinlaw. He grew up in Mt. Hermon, Louisiana and graduated high school there. At the age of 17, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy and there he remained for the next 20 years. During those years, Petty Officer Kinlaw traveled extensively in the far east as well as most of the United States. He was a Vietnam veteran. After retiring from active-duty, Jim spent several years on the north shore of Lake Superior before settling in the F-M area in 1981 where he retired from the K-Mart Corporation and also from the VA Medical Center in Fargo. It was at the VA hospital that Jim met and fell in love with his future wife, Judy. He was called out of retirement to work for Scheels Corporation, to operate the Ferris wheel. Jim was the founder and manager of the F-M Golden Notes New Horizons Band and was a long-time member of the YMCA aerobics class. Jim and Judy worshipped at Brookdale Baptist Church in Moorhead, MN where they were faithfully taught the lessons of the Bible. Jim is survived by his wife Judy Ann (Kummer) Kinlaw; two stepdaughters: Lori (Tim) Olson and Melissa (Matt) Moellenkamp, and their six precious children: Brad, Alex, Hannah, Luke, Jack, and Megan. He is also survived by his brother, Larry (Dot) Kinlaw, his mother-in-law Alvina Kummer, and nieces, nephews, and cousins. Preceding him in death are his parents, grandparents, and one brother, Richard.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Jim was my dear friend for many years. It was around 2003-2004 that he asked me if he could learn to be a musician. I had the privilege of teaching him saxophone lessons and musical notation. He was so enthusuastic about it that he took on the task of organizing a New Horizons Band in Fargo — a group dedicated to teaching music to senior adults. More importantly, he was my friend and dear Christian brother. For years, he and I would meet up (often via Skype or Zoom) to talk about the issues of the day over a hot cup of coffee. He always enjoyed a thoughtful conversation. I knew him to be a source of wisdom and insight, always willing to provide sage counsel. I will miss him, but I am thankful that he was prepared — ready to leave an ill body and dwell in the presence of God.

  2. Jim will every live as a great man and reminder of God’s Grace in my life. My life was impacted by his testimony of God’s Grace, his desire to start anew to learn the Saxaphone when he did, and a smile everytime I saw him. He regularly reminded me to slow down, and take it easy.

    Miss you Jim!

    Love you Judy! We are here when you need us!

  3. The entire Brookdale Baptist Church family will miss you, Jim! Your enthusiasm for Christ and genuine interest in people have made an indelible, lasting impact that will last for years to come. Until we meet again …

  4. My sympathy goes out to you Judy. Special memories of you two. Henry and Jim were great friends.
    I would like to be there for the service, but i can’t . God is so faithful , he will meet your needs.

  5. Jim I didn’t know you personally, but you were very well thought of and prayed for by your Brookdale family. I prayed for you and Judy myself. I know you will be missed by all but I can’t help thinking of you in your mansion and walking the streets of gold. You will be missed!

  6. Judy and family-

    May the peace, comfort, and embrace of Jesus draw you ever closer to His love and care for you. Jim’s testimony of his “Crossroads” experience that eventually leads him to the cross is one I think of and often use to give hope to others who are or have been at similar crossroads in their lives. Jim holds a special place in my heart as a friend and brother in Christ. Jim’s heart for Jesus is example of God’s transforming grace and an encouragement to many. Lord bless.

  7. So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. I worked with Jim & Judy at the VA & loved working with them both. My thoughts & prayers are with your family at this difficult time. Your faith in God will get you through together.

  8. Uncle Jimmie: the best virtual race car driver I ever knew, the best ferris wheel operator I ever knew, the best sax player I ever knew, the best band leader I ever knew, the best and coolest Navy vet I ever knew and my best connection to the coldest place in the USA. I could always say “Hey, my Uncle lives there”. What a fantastic and much fantasied world traveling Uncle. Thanks for your inspiration and for sharing tales of your many travels with us as kids. You are already missed. Safe travels.

  9. Such a sweet, gracious man. I loved stopping to see him at Scheels after I retired. My deepest sympathy to his family.

  10. I was saddened to learn of Jim’s passing today. I joined the Golden Notes, New Horizons band in 2007. We had about 15 players at the time. We formed a tight and motivated family of renovated senior musicians. Ed Christianson was a gifted and patient director, just what the fledgling band needed. Jim and I became close friends and shared many commutes to our practice site at NDSU. Our conversations were usually of a spiritual nature because we shared the testimony of a “new life” in Christ Jesus. – Jim was devoted and faithful, working countless hours to manage and promote the band. – Judy was a perfect find for Jim and demonstrated a bond of devotion illustrative of the highest of Christian marriage. – I know where Jim is today and I look forward to our joyous reunion in that day. (Charlie P. Trumpet and Web master)

  11. So sorry for your loss. I delivered Meals On Wheels to Jim. He was such a nice man. We would talk about him running the Ferris wheel at Scheels. Rest In Peace.

  12. Jim was my neighbor next door too North of me in North Moorhead saw Jim alot at the Downtown YMCA Very Nice Guy too Chat with he will be Greatly Missed by All RIP Jim and Prayers for his Family

  13. I worked with Jim through his work with the New Horizon’s Band—Jim was as we say (as a very high compliment) a really good guy—one of the best. He will be missed.

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