Dr. James Everett Urish, 72, died peacefully on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 in Rangely, Colorado after battling cancer for over three years.
He was born May 23, 1947 in Rockford, Illinois, to Robert and Lucy (nee Strawbridge) Urish, and grew up in nearby Mt. Morris with siblings Rob and Linda.
While attending Mt. Morris High School, Jim worked farm jobs and at a dairy, also playing football, basketball, and baseball. His teams won conference championships in football and basketball his senior year and he earned All-Conference honors in basketball before graduating in 1965.
Jim went on to play baseball at St. Olaf College where his team won the conference twice and he earned All-Conference honors his junior and senior years. He also played basketball and his team won the conference and made the NCAA Division II tournament his senior year.
The summer before Jim graduated in 1969 with a BA in Economics, he worked at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Maria von Trapp of “The Sound of Music” fame told Jim before he left that, “Sometimes it is the people who are most difficult that one enjoys the most!”
After graduation, Jim worked at Kable Printing Company in Mt. Morris before beginning graduate school at the University of Arizona. He tied for first on the comprehensive exam and earned an MBA in 1972, but more importantly, became a Christian. Following Christ quickly became his supreme passion.
In the summers of 1972 and 1973, he traveled with Christian basketball teams across Europe, Africa, and Israel, sharing the Gospel. Jim also spent time at L’Abri, Switzerland where he met his future bride, Anne Penny, was tutored by Francis Schaeffer, played for a semi-pro basketball team, and worked at a nearby bakery. He rigorously studied the Bible and concluded that its truths applied to all areas of life.
Jim married Anne in 1977 and Luke was born in 1978, while attending Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. He graduated cum laude with a Masters of Divinity in 1979 and was called to pastor Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lander, Wyoming. Daughters Mimi and Abbie were born there in 1980 and 1983.
Jim coached numerous sports teams for his kids and was deeply involved in the community. He volunteered as chaplain at the jail and hospital, taught World Religion classes at Central Wyoming College, was President of the Wyoming Air Force Academy Parents Club, and earned his Doctor of Ministry in 1994 from Covenant Seminary.
In 2001, Jim was called to Forestgate Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs. He assisted Jimmy and Vicki Covey’s Air Force Academy cadet ministry and taught Christian Ethics and Apologetics classes at New Geneva Seminary.
Jim retired in 2014, but counted it a blessing to marry all three children and baptize six grandchildren (with another due in February 2020).
Jim was faithful to God’s calling and steadfastly devoted to his beloved wife, children, and grandchildren. His passion for the Gospel, family, and church community will be greatly missed. So too, his character, Bible teaching, love of people, sense of humor, diligent work ethic, humility, compassion, wit, affirming words, and contagious laugh.
He was a gifted communicator and an avid book reader who lived life to the fullest. Jim enjoyed playing golf, traveling, listening to music, watching basketball, cheering on his sports teams, and spending time with his grandkids.
He longed to see his grandchildren grow, learn, and serve the Lord Jesus. Jim lived for Christ and sought to make his life a testament to the fact that nothing compares to the surpassing knowledge of knowing Christ Jesus!
In August 2016, he was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. Jim suffered through significant pain, but ran his race with endurance to the end.
He is now resting in the presence of the Triune God where he no longer sees in a mirror dimly, but is face to face with his Savior.
As Revelation 21:4 tells us, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.” This is his experience today… and forever! So we say, with Jim today: “To God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be the glory forever and ever! Amen.”
Jim was preceded in death by his parents Robert and Lucy Urish of Mt Morris, and his father-in-law Junius Penny of Lawrence, Kansas.
He is survived by his loving wife of over 42 years, Anne Urish; children Luke (Brooke) Urish, Mimi (Kevin) Burch, and Dr. Abigail (Ken) Sutton; brother Rob (Karen) Urish of Mt Morris, Illinois and sister Linda Mitchell of Faribault, Minnesota; grandchildren Adalai Burch, Eleanor Burch, Junius Sutton, James Urish, Matthew Sutton, Henry Urish, and Ezekiel Burch (ETA: Feb ’20); and mother-in-law Mary Lou Penny of Lawrence, Kansas.
A funeral service will be held on Dec. 21 at 10 a.m. at Forestgate Presbyterian Church, 970 Northgate Blvd, Colo Springs, Colorado, 80921. Private interment is on Dec. 20.
Memorial donations in honor of Jim can be made to Forestgate Presbyterian Church, 970 North Gate Blvd, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80921, Covenant Presbyterian Church, 875 Fremont St, Lander, Wyoming, 82520, or the Covey’s ministry, ARDM International, PO Box 63269, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80962.