Jim D. Himelic was born in Salina, Kansas on March 19, 1947 to George C. and Thelma Himelic of Bellevue, Nebraska. Jim had one older brother, George M., born March 6, 1946. Jim graduated from Bellevue High School in June of 1965 and then enrolled at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in the fall of that year. In December 1969, he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Business. As a Cornhusker, Jim was a four-year collegiate wrestler and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Jim moved to Tucson, Arizona to attend law school at the University of Arizona beginning in the fall of 1970. After graduating in May 1973 with his Juris Doctorate, Jim was quickly hired as a prosecutor with the Pima County Attorney’s Office.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office awarded Jim in 1980 for being the first prosecutor to have tried 100 felony cases. In 1983, he left prosecuting and went into private practice as a sole practitioner, specializing in domestic relations and criminal law. Jim was appointed Court Commissioner in 1995 and finished his professional career as a Pima County Juvenile Court judge, where he worked up until 75 days before he passed away. His inherent value for hard work is a testament to the values instilled in him as a youth during his Midwest upbringing.
Jim met his future wife, Diana Pesqueira, at the Pima County Attorney’s Office in 1973, where she was employed as a legal secretary. They married on June 20, 1975. During their almost 25 years of marriage, Jim and Diana were blessed with 6 children: Daniel James, born May 26, 1977; Ana Elizabeth, born September 21, 1978; Michael George, born April 20, 1980; Jennifer Diana, born November 14, 1982; James Benjamin, born March 9, 1984; and Jamie Nicole, born April 18, 1985. Jim would have been tremendously proud of their accomplishments to date.
Jim was a natural athlete and remained active throughout his entire life. He regularly lifted weights, ran on weekends, and played basketball and fast-pitch softball on A.S.A.T. (Any Sport Any Time), the perpetually formidable opponent. In addition to his own active lifestyle, Jim also actively participated in his children’s lives. Jim volunteered for 11 consecutive years as a manager/coach for Canyon Del Oro Little League Baseball at Dennis Weaver Park. A poignant letter Jimmy wrote to his father a few months before he passed away showed that Jim’s sportsmanship exuded values. “You always were there in the dugouts or stands cheering me on in baseball from when I was in kindergarten through my 8th grade summer. You never argued with the umpire or yelled at the coach for bad decisions. You just sat there and kept it to yourself because you knew there are more important things in life than a stupid baseball game.”
As shining as Jim’s professional accomplishments and civic duties were, Jim was most proud of what a good husband, father, son, brother, and friend he had been throughout his short span of life. Jim was diagnosed with ALS on April 16, 1996 and died four short years later on February 12, 2000.
In 2007, The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law dedicated the Juvenile Teaching Program to Jim Himelic. Professor Kenny Hegland oversees this unique program, which recruits law students to teach at the juvenile detention facility. This program has experienced much success as it helps to impact the lives of youths in Southern Arizona. The Himelic Family is grateful for the opportunity to be associated with such an amazing program.