James Tyler Estes, Jr.
wisely recruited this multi-sport and multi-talented Tarheel, a natural
athlete who also excelled academically.
Possessing a southern demeanor and temperament, Jim spoke sparsely
yet with abundant meaning. His talent for terse, dead-pan humor tested
everyone's capacity for suppressing laughter, especially when he chose
to unleash it, under his breath, during the most ceremonious of occasions.
Jim was musically trained and loved the great Soul and R&B music
of the time. It resonated naturally with his Carolina roots. And,
because of his serious vocal artistry, he could even cover a James
Brown riff, often filling in with local bands. He liked piloting his
'68 Pontiac Tempest Le Mans convertible to those gigs, described,
in his words as, "turkey-turd green."
Jim never met anyone he didn't like. In spite of his unerring instinct
for sniffing out a stuffed shirt or BS artist, he embraced everyone
and found a way to enfold them within the tapestry of his own journey.
He was a zeit geist with intellectual chops, the heart of an artist
and the unadulterated soul of a child. He couldn't wait to see what
tomorrow might bring.
Endowed with natural leadership qualities, Jim was not judgmental;
he was, influential. A born fighter jock, he demonstrated his prowess
as a calm, steady flight commander in his firstie year. But then,
he received the heartbreaking news that his eyesight would not meet
the pilot qualification criteria.
Of course, Jim possessed a rare combination of spirit and toughness,
could take a punch with the best of 'em, and proceeded to his backup
plan. He rededicated himself to becoming a different kind of warrior;
on the ground, in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for his exceptionally
devoted and heroic efforts while spending long and dangerous tours
in-country as a procurement officer. His efforts assured that our
troops and airmen had the best of everything necessary to secure their
survival, success and well-being.
He went on to distinguish himself as the first Zoomie to matriculate
from the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law.
But, before he could do so, he would suffer still one more crushing
encounter with adversity when, his father, who'd always admired the
legal profession and, expressed his own desire to practice law, died
suddenly, just as Jim was preparing for his final exams. With only
days to spare, he displayed his extraordinary strength and depth of
character, flying home grief-stricken to North Carolina, to settle
his father's affairs, then returning immediately to complete the tasks
that would have made his father so proud, had he been there to share
it with him.
He went on to make unique contributions as a respected leader of Hawaii's
distinguished Bar for over 40 years. Whatever he'd given away in eyesight
he more than made up for with insight, not to mention, sheer guts.
One could not complete a proper remembrance of Jim, without at least
to golf. He was devoted to and excelled at the game. He
loved having friends visit him in Hawaii, duffers included, for whom
the best part of that invitation was not the privilege of playing
those great courses but, far better, playing alongside a great guy
who, could play them scratch!
Perhaps it was inevitable that Hawaii found Jim and neither would
ever look back. He deeply loved and fully respected the people and
the place, finding there his eternal home.
(Submitted by Stephanie Estes, Jim's
daughter; his wife, Brett; his brother Rick, and Bob Marks '68.)