Born January 3, 1952 Jim grew up as an only child in the Washington DC area. While studying biology at the University of Maryland in 1970 he heard on the radio a group of Quakers reading the list of the war dead in front of the Pentagon. Jim decided that night that he needed to get involved. The next day he volunteered for Catholic Peace Fellowship in Washington DC eventually to serve as its director.
Affected deeply by the passing of his maternal grandmother at fifteen, Jim moved to San Francisco in 1974 and began working as a nurse's aide on an oncology floor. Because of his reputation and ability to provide compassionate interaction and nurturing touch he was frequently assigned to patients who were in the process of dying.
During this period Jim also continued his political activism in San Francisco working with Supervisor Harvey Milk and others to defeat the anti-gay Briggs Initiative, which sought to fire all gay and lesbians teachers in the state, as well as non-gay teachers who associated with them.
Jim volunteered for Shanti Project in 1978 as an emotional support counselor working with people and loved ones who were facing a life-threatening illness. In a few months he became director of volunteer/client services.
In October 1981 he formed what was to be the first support group for individuals with AIDS in the world. When Shanti Project lost its funding in 1982, Jim volunteered to work for no money to keep the organization More »