James Alan McIntosh

March 25, 1931 ~ March 20, 2024 (age 92) 92 Years Old
Obituary Image

James McIntosh Obituary

Jim had a life filled with great love, big adventures, and a kinetic energy and optimism that he brought to everything he did. A man in motion, the only times he was comfortable sitting down were in the dugout on a baseball field, on a log around a campfire, or behind the wheel of a Dodge pickup. 

Despite having his knees replaced (four times!), he played softball in St. Charles, MO until he was 90. Well into his 80s he volunteered on the Colorado Trail in the summer and skied at Winter Park every winter (shoutout to the Viking Lodge, which he called his “home away from home”). He loved sleeping under the stars, was impervious to weather, and didn’t mind being cold or wet or hot as long as he was wearing a hat—preferably baseball or cowboy.

He was the definition of loyalty and perseverance, and worked hard for the people and things he loved—first and foremost his wife, Shirley. He could never get over his good fortune that she said “yes.” They met in 1940, married in 1955, and he missed her every single day since she passed in 1990. 

Jim and Shirley grew up on the South Side of Chicago, where he was raised by his parents David and Dorothy (Kelly) McIntosh as well as his Scottish-born grandparents who lived next door and a collection of other family who all lived on the same block on South Justine Street. His family knew how to turn deprivation into joy and faith into action, saw responsibility as an honor and helping others as a privilege. 

He graduated from Harper High School in 1949 and the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering in 1956. He served two years with the U.S. Army’s 42nd Engineer Battalion in Alaska (1953-55), where he worked as an equipment mechanic andmaintenance foreman of a rock quarry and concrete plant, and earned several medals, including for marksmanship. He worked for 30 years as an industrial loss prevention specialist for Factory Mutual Global in Chicago, Boston and St. Louis, where he held numerous leadership roles and specialized in power plants, papermills, and underground mines. 

His working life began at the age of 12, delivering newspapers between 4 and 6 a.m. before school. As a teenager he worked with his father as a machinist helper in the Englewood yard of the New York Central Railroad, and developed a lifelong passion for and formidable knowledge of steam engines. He was millwright and laborer for U.S. Steel; a rail car tracer for Wilson Meat Packers; a butcher shop janitor; a long-time baseball umpire and basketball referee; and more.

Following retirement, he volunteered for the National Museum of Transportation restoring historic trains, and tutored in the G.E.D. program at St. Charles High School and then St. Charles Community College. He loved working with young people, whether coaching Little League, teaching Sunday school, or training high school students how to use a McLeod to start a trail tread. He braved the outback in Australia, cavorted with penguins on an ice floe in Antarctica, and made it to every U.S. national park except one. He built cabins and garages and model train sets, paddled a canoe throughout eastern Canada, supported the Special Olympics, knew his way around a miniature golf course, and preferred to end each day with a large bowl of chocolate ice cream.

Jim’s extended family is extensive and includes the congregation of Faith United Methodist Church in St. Charles, MO; since 1973 he has been a devoted volunteer, serving as chair of the trustees, usher, liturgist, landscaper, parking lot attendant, and anything else that needed doing—short of singing in the choir. He wasn’t much for music, but one of his favorite songs was Aurora Borealis by C.W. McCall: “And as I saw the morning sun come up over the mountains, I realized that life is just a collection of memories. And memories are like starlight: they go on forever.” 

He is preceded in death by his wife Shirley (Summers) McIntosh(1934-90); son Jeffrey Lance McIntosh (1962-96); and sister Dorothy (McIntosh) Mork. He is survived by his sister Ruth (McIntosh) Schaefer of Carol Stream, IL; brother-in-law Veigh Summers of Indianapolis, IN; daughter Gayle McIntosh of Seattle, WA; son Derek McIntosh (and Derek’s caretakers Debra and Reed Wheeler) of Hannibal, MO; granddaughters Ashley (McIntosh) Kennedy and Casey McIntosh of St. Charles, MO; granddaughters Aubrey Cearley and Cassia Cearley of Seattle, WA; and great-grandchildren Alexander and Jeffrey Kennedy of St. Charles, MO (sons of Ashley and Tim Kennedy) and Adelyn Mae Byer of Seattle, WA (daughter of Cassia Cearley and Evan Byer); and many nieces and nephews. He loved us all, and he loved us well.

In lieu of flowers, Jim life’s can be honored through donations to The Colorado Trail Foundation (marked “In Memory of Jim McIntosh”).


We welcome you to provide your thoughts and memories on our Tribute Wall. 


Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Alan McIntosh, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know James Alan McIntosh?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor James's memory.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of James Alan McIntosh

© 2024 Emmick Family Funeral & Cremation Services of West Seattle. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility