James (Jim) Kent Whitworth passed away at the longtime home of his family in Rosewood Heights. He was 68 years old. Born the eldest of six children to Ervin & Lois Whitworth, in Jim was a unique blend of creativity, intellect and grit. Though he learned the trade of his father, a carpenter, his eye was ever over the horizon—just a sunset up ahead. He chose to hitchhike to San Francisco with a guitar and a dream as a teenager, paying no mind to the forsaken Eagle Scout and Illinois State Scholar honors that set up a straight shot down the achievement highway. In his eyes, the knowledge he sought was further on.
His music took him many places, his razor wit made him many friends and his ability to always “find a way” kept his incessant searching alive. In his 20s, he soloed the Mississippi River in a canoe, in his 30s he embarked on a PhD in Geology, and in his later years renovated buildings by day and played gigs at night—taking great pride in being a workin’ man and a workin’ man’s musician. He was good in a tight situation, gone a lot but always there when it mattered, and never shied from the truth. This is how he rolled until the very end.
He is preceded in death by his father (Ervin Whitworth), mother (Lois Whitworth), brother (Jeff Whitworth) and sister (Jenny), and is survived by his sisters Jean Pajka (Ohio), Jaye Whitworth (California), and brother Joe Whitworth (Oregon) and their families, as well as nieces, nephews, and cousins galore. In keeping with Jim’s free spirit, a simple gathering of friends and family will happen at the confluence of the Mississippi and Wood Rivers at the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site (3500 New Poag Road, Hartford) at 2 pm, Saturday, November 20, in an open-air pavilion. This will serve as his final point of departure from us and will be memorialized on the side of Whitworth Hill in Worthington, Missouri, with his family. Recognizing the pandemic as it sits, please know a proper toast among the friends would be farewell enough for such a light traveler.
Marks Mortuary in Wood River is entrusted with arrangements.