Super Bowl Sunday morning dawned with the sad news of the passing of Jimm Crowder on Jan. 29. Below is Jimm’s obituary, as published in Feb. 2 Star Tribune of Minneapolis. No cause of death was given, but his health had been failing in recent years.
Crowder, Jimm age 72 of St. Paul passed away January 29th, 2020, peacefully at home. He spent his career traveling the globe and visited over 100 countries as the Director of International Admissions at Macalester College. Through his deep knowledge of global issues and passion for international education he created a far-reaching community of students, colleagues, and friends. A true renaissance man, he was a baseball aficionado, world class chef, and a brilliant storyteller. Perhaps above all else, he was a dedicated humanist, optimist, and lover of life he saw the best in all those he met and had a profound impact on countless lives. He is survived by his wife, Jutta and children, Max and Anja. May he travel well.
In late July 2015, Jimm presented new witness information to the Amelia Earhart Research Association (AERA) online discussion group, recalling his work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Micronesia in his early 20s, from 1970 to 1972, where he lived on Majuro and Saipan and taught middle school.
Jimm also learned plenty about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, beginning at Majuro in 1970 where he was befriended by Senator Amata Kabua, also known as the “Iroj,” or King of the Marshalls, who later became the first president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Through Kabua he met many of the leading players and witnesses in the Earhart saga, including Bilimon Amaron, the powerful and influential Robert Reimers, Tony and Oscar deBrum, and the Heine brothers, John and Dwight.
Amaron, a successful and respected businessman, was Jimm’s landlord on Majuro, and John Heine supervised his work. “He [Bilimon] and his workers joined me in building my modest plywood and tin ‘shack’ on his property,” Jimm wrote:
I saw him multiple times per week at his store where I bought my provisions. On a couple of occasions Bilimon knocked on my door with a big smile and a large chunk of freshly caught tuna, which he readily shared with me and other members of our village. All of these people and others, some with firsthand observations and others with credible secondhand information, spoke to me, often at length, about Earhart and Noonan. Every one of them offered evidence that AE and Noonan landed in the Marshalls.
After his Peace Corps job took him to Saipan in 1971, Crowder’s friendship with Amata Kabua continued, as the senator often visited on official business and introduced Crowder to numerous American and Micronesian government officials. “AE’s time on Saipan seemed to be a given and was commonly discussed among government professionals,” Crowder recalled. “Everyone knew the story and most accepted that it was true.”
For much more on Jimm’s important contributions to Earhart research, please see pages 164-167 of Truth at Last.
“My heartfelt condolences to Jimm’s family,” Les Kinney wrote in the Star Tribune’s Guest Book. “I have never met such a kind, soft spoken man. A true friend with a vibrant intellect. A friend who would go the extra mile to make you welcome and comfortable.
“He served in the Marshall Islands and Saipan,” Kinney continued, “and is the only person to have had discussions with two witnesses who had seen Amelia Earhart on both Saipan and the Marshall Islands. He truly will be missed.”
I echo Les Kinney’s sentiments, and hope the Angels have already flown Jimm to his Heavenly abode, where Amelia Earhart welcomed him home.