James “Jim” Glass


James (Jim) Laban Glass, 84, died peacefully at his home in Rochester, MN on the evening of March 7, 2024. He was born into a poor and racially divided town, Poplar Bluff, in the “boot heel” of Missouri, on April 3, 1939.

Jim became passionate about civil rights and racial justice by the time he was a young adult. As a United Methodist pastor in Kansas City, Missouri, Jim participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, riding to Washington D.C. with his friend Eugene Lowry in the back of a bus sponsored by the NAACP. He overcame community and church opposition to build Nowlin Hall, which to this day provides subsidized housing for seniors on the east side of Kansas City, MO. His civil rights advocacy continued when he was an army chaplain. In his later years he supported several medical projects in Africa, primarily in North Katanga United Methodist Annual Conference in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Jim’s historical and religious interests were nourished by his time at Drury College, Springfield, Missouri and Saint Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, Missouri. He read widely in military history. While he had a prophetic heart when it came to social issues, he is also remembered for his pastoral presence. His genuine curiosity and compassion for individuals marked his ministry, early on leading churches in Peculiar, MO and Kansas City, MO; as a chaplain in the US Army reserves and MO National Guard; then, as a professional fundraiser for churches, universities, and non-governmental organizations; and, at the end of his life, serving as an ecumenical pastoral associate at St. Luke’s Anglican Parish in Burlington, Ontario. This care for people extended to the medical, nursing, and support personnel who provided for him during his illnesses at the Krohn Clinic and Memorial Hospital in Black River Falls, WI and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

The Christian faith by which he lived his life also undergirded his courage, generosity and humour in the last months of his illness. He loved traditional liturgy and resonated with prayers from the Book of Common Prayer.  He treated each day as a gift and believed that God would guide the medical decisions he faced as cancer consumed his body. He often stated that he was comforted by God’s promise in John 14:3, that God has prepared a mansion with many rooms. As a devout Christian, he honoured and valued his friends of other faiths and hated, especially, anti-semitism  and Islamaphobia.

Jim was known for his fun side: his jokes, his appreciation of good restaurants, his frequent invitations to cocktail hours on his mini-pontoon boat, Lil Blue, docked at his home on Lake Buckhorn in Hatfield, WI, and his offering a fine collection of Scotch.

Jim was a family man. He will be sorely missed by his wife, Pamela Couture of Hatfield, Wisconsin and Rochester, MN; his daughter Kathryn Glass (Andre Greyson) of West Hills, CA and son David Glass (Michelle Crocker) of Beaverton, OR; his grandchildren Alexandre Greyson, Samantha Grace Glass and Jonathan James Glass; step-daughters Meredith Ford (Chris Ravlin) of Eagle, Idaho and Shannon Conrad (Shannon Howell) of Dillard, Georgia, and step-grandsons Brenden Conrad, Nolan Conrad, Brady Ford and Jake Ford; his mother-in-law Barbara Couture, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Jeffrey and Barbara Couture, as well as nieces and nephews in St. Paul, MN.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Jim’s home in Hatfield, Wisconsin, on June 1, 2024 at 12:00 and religious services and internment of ashes will be at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Burlington, Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2024 at 10:00 am, followed by a trip into Toronto to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play the Toronto Blue Jays.

During his illness Jim was frequently assisted by the Hatfield, Wisconsin volunteer fire department and first responders.  The family requests that US dollar memorial donations in Jim’s name be sent to Hatfield Fire & Rescue, N9510 County Hwy. K, Merrillan, WI  54754. The family will be designating an appropriate donation for friends and family in Canada closer to the September 14 internment.

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