James Vomhof - DCC President (1959-60), Passes Away

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James Vomhof-DCC President (1959-60)

James P. Vomhof, 84, of Olathe, KS passed away Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at Menorah Medical Center.  The family will hold a private service.  A Friends and Family Visitation will be held on Sunday, December 9 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park, KS in the Jerry Vincent Dining Room, OCB Room 108.  The family suggests contributions to Dawson Community College, 300 College Drive, Glendive, MT 59330 in lieu of flowers.

Jim was born on October 18, 1928 in Lisbon, North Dakota to Rev. Amandus and Augusta Vomhof.  He graduated from Lester Prairie High School in Minnesota in 1945, and enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving during the end of World War II.  He also served in the Navy during the Korean Conflict, and then pursued an academic career.  After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing at the University of Minnesota, he accepted a position as Dean and Chief Executive Officer at Dawson County Community College in Glendive, Montana.  Although originally tasked with closing the school, Jim developed new courses and marketed the college which resulted in more than a 100% growth in enrollment.  He led the college through four continuous years of growth, and then accepted the dual position of Business Manager and Purchasing Officer at St. John’s Lutheran College in Winfield, Kansas. 

After earning a Master of Arts in Educational Administration and Curriculum and Instruction, his next academic step was to become the Assistant Superintendent for Business with the Winfield Public School District.  His experience in Winfield prepared him to take on greater responsibilities as the Assistant Superintendent for Business with USD 233 Olathe.  One of his favorite projects was helping oversee the construction and furnishing of Santa Fe Trail Junior High.

In 1969, Jim was hired as one of the original administrators of Johnson County Community College.  He accepted the position with the understanding that once the college facility was completed, he would move to the academic side as the Director of Business.  Several of his children remember him taking them to look at a farm field where he announced, “This is where JCCC will be built!” For the next 20+ years, Jim managed a division with over 170 full- and part-time faculty and staff.  During his tenure, he developed more than 14 programs including the culinary arts, chef apprenticeship, fashion merchandising, paralegal, interior design, and entrepreneurship.  He also negotiated and managed the Burlington Northern Railroad engineer program, established some of the first 2+2 programs with Emporia State University, implemented a Business and Industry Institute and Small Business Development Center (the first community college SBDC in Kansas), and established a Hospitality Management Certificate Program at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth.  Several of the programs have grown to become nationally recognized.  He was successful as a result of his “managing while walking around” style.  Students, staff, faculty, and peers knew him for asking one simple question, “What can I do to help you?”  And that he did; he was a mentor, manager, friend, confidante, and innovative educator who was driven to help people and use education to reach their personal goals.

Retiring from Johnson County Community College as the Associate Dean of Business and Technology did not take him out of the education scene.  Jim became actively involved with the Association for College Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), the only business accrediting body for two-year academic institutions.  He began as a site team evaluator, then a site team chair, and was named the Associate Director of Accreditation in 2002.  Over the years, Jim trained and mentored hundreds of schools and faculty, offering his extensive academic expertise for developing and growing quality academic programs.  His time and talents were recognized by several awards including the JCCC Wall of Honor and the ACBSP Star of the Year Award.

In addition to being a dedicated, professional educator and businessperson, Jim was a dedicated husband. He was married to his wife, Patricia, for 60 years, and was a loving father of seven children—all college educated and working in the academic or medical field.  Throughout his adult life he was always actively involved with community service; held church leadership positions; and was active in mission work in the United States, Guatemala, and Africa.  Whether at school, home, church, or in the community, Jim was a positive role model and mentor.

James was preceded in death by his parents, Amandus and Augusta.  Survivors include his wife, Patricia Vomhof; seven children, Lowell Vomhof (Lora), Susan Vomhof Courtney, Martha Vomhof Baumgardner (Brian), Patty Vomhof Gordon, Reed Vomhof (Tiffany), Kathleen Vomhof Johnson (Rob), and Arlan Vomhof (Leah); seventeen grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and three siblings, Arlene Vomhof Murray, Carroll Vomhof, and Walter Vomhof.

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