Father Jim Wilmes
CINCINNATI—Glenmary Father Jim Wilmes, a member of the Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners for 46 years, died Feb. 7, 2003, in Robbinsville, N.C. Born January 31, 1927, the Chicago, Ill., native collapsed while shoveling snow.
Father Wilmes began his ministry career in North Carolina in the 1950s, working as an associate pastor in Murphy, N.C., and as the director of Pius XII Pastoral Center at Buck Creek. He, along with several other Glenmary priests, were the first Catholic clergy to bring Catholicism to Western North Carolina, holding tent revivals during the summer and visiting the people of the area door to door. In 1986, he returned to North Carolina as pastor of the Glenmary missions in Andrews and Robbinsville.
Father Jerry Dorn, president of Glenmary Home Missioners, said Father Wilmes was a man steeped in commitment to the Catholic Church. "He was committed to missionary life and to reaching out and giving service to the poorest of the poor," Father Dorn said. "He truly will be missed."
Father Wilmes moved to his first mission pastorate in Franklin, NC in 1960. From 1962 to 1968, his ministry focused on promoting Glenmary's work from Glenmary Headquarters in Cincinnati and in Fairfield, Conn. He then moved on to pastorates in Claxton, Ga., in 1968 and Hugo, Okla., in 1976. He returned to North Carolina as pastor of Holy Redeemer Church in Andrews in 1986, where he stayed until retiring in 1998. Following his retirement, he chose to remain in Robbinsville, living in a back room of Prince of Peace Church. Always trying to be the priest he felt God expected him to be, he continued his ministry of serving the needs of the local Catholic community as well reaching out to the greater community.