James Ernest Dykes, 75, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend passed away peacefully on July 7, 2013. A 6th generation Floridian, Jim was born in Umatilla, Florida, in 1938, graduated from Umatilla High School in 1956, married his high school sweetheart, Roberta Yvonne Vaughn in 1958 and graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1962. To his last breath, Jim was a relentlessly passionate Gator through and through.
Jim came from the humblest of beginnings, easily sharing that he grew up in a house without running water and never had a bed of his own. But because of his own drive, coupled with compassion, leadership, and intelligence, he was indeed a genuine "success story." He was honored in his profession with awards too numerous to list. During his long career he held leadership positions in several companies, including Radiation, Harris, General Electric, Philips North America and TSMC in Taiwan. His work took him to locales in Florida, California, North Carolina and Texas as well as overseas, but he returned to his Florida roots to retire, living both in Fort McCoy and St. Augustine.
One reason Jim enjoyed Florida was that he loved the water. Boating and fishing were his loves, second only to family and food, or maybe just second to family.
He and Yvonne never tired of having guests to their lake house, where some form of water activity was always happening, usually with Jim at the helm. Whether it was calmly touring the lake in the late afternoon or captaining his boat "Arete," across ocean waves to the Keys or islands, his heart was most happy on the water. Every year the family enjoyed a vacation in the islands, always ending with pictures of Jim holding up a big fish. Another family memory will be Jim watching his other favorite sport, NASCAR, a true Southern sport that enthralled this true southern gentleman.
It was fortunate in many ways that Jim captured the heart of Yvonne. Because of his kindness, generosity, and gregariousness, she was destined to always have a home full of friends that usually required a great deal of care and feeding. She was well qualified for the job. To be at Jim"s table was always a deliciously joyful time, and he was quite definite in his requirements: He never ate leftovers, hated broccoli and fennel, had an ever-loving relationship with an occasional Spam sandwich and every Sunday night had "the meal of kings," which he defined as steak, artichoke and Caesar salad. He made an outstanding Caesar salad and to this day, family members try (and try) to equal his recipe. He was also quoted as saying he never met a hamburger he didn"t like. While in California he owned a small vineyard and developed quite an interest in wine, especially red, usually nightly.
Even though he was given the nickname "The General" by his daughter Meme, he was known for his kindness and compassion. He was always a champion for others less fortunate. He was a mentor to countless friends and colleagues, a supporter of education through an endowment at University of Florida to provide scholarships for several students every year for their entire college program and a consultant on many boards of directors long after he attempted (and flunked) retirement. In every sense of the word, he was able to give to others. Jim was the kind of person who drew people to him. He valued them and they were enriched by knowing him.
Jim is survived by his wife Yvonne; sister Pat Newsham (Dave), daughter Meme Bernholz (Blake), daughter Kim Teegen (John), granddaughter Jennefer Teegen, and grandson Brandon Teegen.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the following in Jim"s name: Anglers for Conservation. http://www.anglersforconservation.org/. Online condolences can be made at www.Beyersfuneralhome.com. Beyers Funeral Home, Umatilla.