James Burke Voit, Jr. passed away on Dec. 7, 2020, in San Diego from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
Jim was born on April 5, 1931, in Washington, D.C., to Capt. and Mrs. James Voit. His father was a naval aviator who fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. As a Navy Junior, Jim traversed the United States between the East to West coasts many times. Jim spent his formative years in Coronado, graduating from Coronado High School in 1948. he was an exceptional athlete in football and track. He was also a Breitbart Scholar.
Jim was an Army Veteran who served in Korea during the Korean War, helping expatriate the Chinese back to Taiwan and to Mainland China.
Jim was an aquatic expert, waterman, SCUBA diver, and professional lifesaver. He was a Coronado City lifeguard and permanent San Diego County lifeguard with Dempsy Holder at Imperial Beach. He was a big wave pioneer at the Imperial Beach Sloughs in the early 1950s along the Tom Carlin, John Elwell, and Chuck Quinn. The Wildcoast organization also honored Jim at an Imperial Beach ceremony as a Surfing Legend.
Jim attended Georgia Tech, UCLA and graduated from San Diego State with a major in physics and minor in mathematics. He was employed as a computer engineer for decades, working on projects as diverse as digitalizing scoreboards at Yankee Stadium, Montreal Olympic Park and the Seattle Seahawks stadiums.
Jim spent years building a ketch in his Encinitas back yard. A crane was needed to left the ketch out of his yard to take to San Diego Bay, where he and his family lived aboard for several years. Unfortunately, the reality of living on the bay in San Diego with a family of six outweighed the romanticism of sailing on the open seas. The ketch was ultimately sold and he and his family moved back to Encinitas.
Jim could spend hours working on mathematical problems. He also loved all things outdoors, swimming, hiking, comping, SCUBA diving and surfing. He was an avid reader, often quoting from Walt Whitman to Rudyard Kipling. His favorite novelists were Joseph Conrad, Willa Cather, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and most especially Herman Melville. He was a newcomer to Grand Opera, but he quickly became a fan of Richard Wagner’s the “Ring Cycle,” seeing it on three occasions in Seattle, Orange County (“The Russian Ring” conducted by Valery Gergiev) and Los Angeles.
Jim leaves his sons Tom of Hawaii, Michael of Encinitas; step children Johnny and Marcia of San Diego County; two grandchildren, Shane and Summer; and his companion, Sarah Brown of Coronado. He was predeceased by his parents and wife Lora.
Donations in his name may be made to Wildcoast, 925 Seacoast Drive, Imperial Beach, CA 91932.
“There is wisdom that is woe; but there is woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces.”
“The Try-Works,” Chapter 96 of “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville