James Edgar Lightbody, age 86, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, on Saturday, March 10, 2018, following a recent fall and a 50 year challenge with Multiple Sclerosis.
Jim was born on Feb. 10, 1932, in Broken Bow, to Edgar and Esther (Scofield) Lightbody. Later they lived in Sargent, Stanton and Nebraska City where he graduated from high school in 1950.
He attended Nebraska Wesleyan University where he was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity, was active in many campus groups and lettered in track and basketball.
In 1954 he was named an NAlA Basketball All American. He received a degree in education and developed many lifelong friendships.
At NWU he met Donna Lee Martin, his beloved wife of 63 years. They were married on Nov. 11, 1954, in David City.
Following a tour of duty in the Army at Ft. Hood, Texas, they moved to Blair where Jim taught high school and coached basketball.
After serving as the assistant manager of the Albion Elevator and Lumberyard, Jim's passion for education and lifelong learning brought him back to the University of Nebraska where he earned a master's degree in education and a D.Ed. in adult and continuing education.
While working with the Lincoln Public Schools, he served on the committee that devised the legislation creating the Nebraska Community College System, one of his proudest accomplishments.
The remainder of his career was as an administrator at Southeast Community College.
Jim gave time to numerous boards and professional organizations including Lincoln Action Program, Goodwill Industries, Nebraska Wesleyan Alumni Association and the Missouri Valley Adult Education Association.
His Christian faith guided his life and connected him to leadership roles in groups that he loved dearly: Nebraska Leadership Prayer Breakfast (chairman), Fellowship Foundation in Washington, D.C. and Christ United Methodist Church.
Since retirement in 1998, Jim composed a daily devotional, "A Moment for Reflection", which inspired hundreds of followers when they opened their email inbox each morning.
He loved Husker football, college basketball, playing bridge and listening to hymns and music. Most importantly, he was a loving husband, father and grandfather.
He is survived by his wife, Donna; daughters Brenda Lightbody, Minneapolis; Tracy (Layne) Marsh, and granddaughters Jamison and Sawyer, Las Vegas; son Kent Lightbody, Lincoln; brother Philip (Kelly) Lightbody, Maitland, Fla.; sisters-in-law, Elaine Tonniges, Stromsburg; Jean Hansen, Maxine Riddle, Jackie Mahlin and Kate Martin, David City. He is also survived by 20 nieces and nephews and their families, and by a host of friends. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, sister and brother-in-law Donna and Bruce Link, as well as six brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law.
A memorial celebration was to be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 23, at Christ United Methodist Church, 4530 A Street, Lincoln, NE 68510. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 22, at Roper and Sons, 4300 "0" Street, Lincoln, NE 68510. Private inurnment.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Jim's honor to Christ United Methodist Church; Nebraska Wesleyan University, 5000 St. Paul, Lincoln, NE 68504; Nebraska Leadership Foundation, 3227 Sherman Place, Lincoln, NE 68506 or the National MS Society, 7611 State Line, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64114.
"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
Arrangements by Roper and Sons.