Remembering Dr. James DeVries
It has been almost six months since Jim passed away on April 7, 2019. I think of him as a good friend and close colleague. Many of us remember Jim as a collegial team member at the International Goat Association, but few knew that he was instrumental in every major decision I made as the President of IGA.
Jim was very much respected and trusted, and I often took his advice and went against my own instinct and wishes. He served as Secretary-Treasurer for IGA under more than one president. Jim was particularly supportive when we tried to rebuild IGA’s financial standing. He was an important partner when we embarked the strategic planning process, for the first time in the history of IGA. With the participation of Christie, Rosalee, a facilitator, among others, Jim worked tirelessly to make sure the logistic was well in place.
When Heifer International moved to its current offices, Jim assisted in organizing a Board of Director’s meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas. Everyone who attended would agree it was one of the most rewarding meetings we had, not only moving IGA forward with many important decisions but also the hospitality extended by Jim, his family, and Heifer International. Many of us would agree that Jim contributed to IGA significantly and provided very much needed stability and continuity.
Jim had an outstanding career with Heifer International. He served for many years as Director of Africa/Near East Program and Director of International Programs before retired as Senior Vice President in charge of heifer’s global programs spanning more than 35 countries. I personally witnessed Jim’s tremendous enthusiasm and passion for local producers, and I admired his skill and field experience. He was very much into local goat activities and asked relevant questions to make sure that local Heifer employees were in touch of reality and understood the aspiration and needs of producers whom they tried to assist. Many of us are committed to the alleviation of poverty and the improvement of lives in rural community through goat production. Jim was the model example as he had changed many people’s lives through his endeavor and outreach.
James was a devoted Christian and a long-time member of St. Andrew’s Church. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather and loved his family deeply. The months after James lost his beloved wife Judy, James wrote in his Christmas letter: “While I miss Judy each day, the love of family and friends has not only sustained me but also allowed me to move forward. I love the song by Matt Maher, Your grace is enough. Among the lyrics are the words: God, I see your grace is enough; I’m covered in your love; Your grace is enough for me. For me this grace is not something abstract.” This inner strength from above helps to explain the love, care and devotion Jim demonstrated throughout his life. Started as a teenager immigrant on a boat to the land of promise, Jim transformed lives of many. It is an understatement to say that he will be missed.
Christopher D. Lu
IGA President 2004-2008
Leave a Reply.
The International Goat Association promotes goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity and to improve the quality of life.
International Goat Association
12709 Grassy Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas 72210 USA