Jim lived fully in his educational successes, family, travels, love of classical music and the outdoors.
Born in Aurora, Illinois to Roy H. and Ruth Jackson Decker, he was raised, along with his brother Jackson, in the small town of Oregon, IL, but always dreamed of living in the mountains. He graduated from the University of Illinois in Political Science. Jim served as a United States Army Captain which led him to one of his many passions, skiing. He learned to ski when stationed at Camp Hale near Leadville, CO. He later had the opportunity to be a volunteer ski patrol at Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park and Purgatory Resort. He then went on to receive his PHD in Political Science from the University of Colorado. While at the University of Colorado he met and married Marcia Millikan of Tulsa, OK. While working on his doctorate he received a Fulbright Scholarship to complete his thesis on the water politics of New Zealand and traveled there by ship, along with his wife and young daughter.
He became a Professor of Political Science at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO, realizing his dream of living in the mountains. He and Marcia had two children whom they raised to share their love of skiing, river rafting, camping and hiking in the surrounding areas of their home. Upon retiring in 1993 he took a job as an American Government Instructor for the U.S. Navy on multiple ships including the USS Cowpens and USS Yorktown. This gave him the opportunity to continue his passion of teaching while traveling the world, again by ship.
Years later he relocated to Salt Lake City to be near his two children and four grandchildren.
He is survived by his first wife Marcia and their children Sara (Kevyn) Dern, Pete (Heidi) Decker and grandchildren Elena Dern, Maura Dern, Charlie Decker and Nicolas Decker. Also his third wife Lynn Decker.
In lieu of flowers and in memory of Jim, try to spend some time in the mountains or listen to Mozart.