As friends learn of Jim’s passing, they express their condolences and share their memories of Jim, who will be missed.
Reflections & Testimonials
Friends of IFE
Jim Valentine was larger than life — a personality that could neither be contained by the mountains of Appalachia nor the strictures of button-down Washington. A visionary ahead of his time whose prescience will be measured in not just portfolio growth but the transformation of entire sectors, Jim’s business success was perhaps the last thing that could be drawn from him in conversation. A true free spirit, the life of the party, the most reliable source for uproarious laughter, and gleefully inveterate thorn in everyone’s side, a seat next to Jim was the most sought after at dinners Coast to Coast — and only, very occasionally but equally to his deight, regretted. But above all, a dear friend to so many, who knew where he came from, where he was going, and how to take all of us along for the ride. If only he could have stayed for one more round. We’ll miss him dearly.
I called him My Funny Valentine:) His sense of humor combined with his love for his friends made time with him such a blast. He was raw and real in a way not many men are, and he loved his wife with fierce loyalty. Jim never judged anyone, and he always made you feel like you were the most important person in the room. He also let me take as many mulligans as I wanted on the golf course. The true sign of an ultimate gentleman. I will miss my Funny and Loving Valentine.
Jim was absolutely the most brilliant man I’ve ever known. He is a good man with a great sense of humor and a great sense of doing business. He has raised several children and has served God very well. I am proud to say he is one of my very best friends in life. I’ve had an immense amount of fun with Jim. He has kindly found the best jobs I’ve had in my lifetime but more importantly, Jim was never preachy about it and very much cared for his fellow human beings. And to his lovely wife Kathy and their daughters Kelsey and Christina who are both Goddaughters of mine (one of the greatest honors of my life). I’m so sorry that Jim’s life has been cut short - he will be greatly missed.
These words are difficult to write but let me try... Jim Valentine. What an extraordinary man. The first time I saw him was at a Washington party. Someone introduced me to him and his smile just seemed to fill the room with warmth. He was born with a special charm and he made you feel happy in his presence. To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die... Farewell dear Jim.
Jim Valentine is one of the most generous people I have ever met. Deeply human. A great American.
Jim and I connected from the very first minute we crossed paths―he had the brilliance in him that was so apparent even from a quick conversation. He had an orthogonal way of looking at the world―which is what I deeply appreciate. He wasn't into drinking the kool aid and always took the time to ask the important questions of why? how? what? His wicked sense of humor and wit meant we could discuss complex topics and yet not make it seem like work. My life and the life of Artis Ventures has forever been enriched by having Jim as part of our life.
I am saddened to hear of Jim’s departure. Diane and I have you and your family in our prayers. One of his great contributions was giving you the support to build IFE — more needed today than ever.
Jim was such an amazing person. He was outspoken, motivated me every day and cared so much. He was like family and such a key person in my life. He helped me to be in the position I am today with my company and my personal life. He always pushed me to make sure I got things done and was on the right track. Jim always had my back whenever I needed anything, he was always there. Our weekly lunches and sometimes daily calls meant so much to me. The knowledge he taught me will resonate with me forever. His support and his mentorship, I wouldn’t trade for the world. I still remember when he called in to my board meeting during chemo to make sure I was taken care of and no one would mess with me. He never let his cancer get him down. His impact on our companies together with Liquipel and Instaprotek as well as all our employees will last with us forever.
My thoughts are with you and the family. Jim was a gigantic champion of Norman’s technology and several times a savior of Norman’s work and by extension, the world. His contributions to the Tri Alpha effort were critical to the company’s success and his booming enthusiasm unparalleled! A giant in so many ways, he lives on indelibly in my heart which, at this moment, goes out to you!
I can't tell you how sad I am that Jim is no longer with us. I reached out to him several months ago to say I hoped we could get together for one of our periodic lunches when covid was over, not realizing how ill he was. I really thought it would be possible. Although I subsequently learned that things were worse than I'd known, particularly in the last few weeks, his passing hit hard. He was so vibrant in life, such a strong figure, so easy to connect with, so gregarious, so magnetic, that it is hard to realize that his flame, at least in this physical world, has gone out. But his flame will stay lit in our memories, and will continue to warm our hearts. It seems trivial to say at a time like this that I will miss my lunches with Jim, or our conversations at IFE events, when you, Kelsey, Christina, and Travis have lost immeasurably more, but it is a mark of what a special person Jim was that he was an important touchstone even to his friends, who were legion.
Dearest Kathy, I hesitated to write as to be honest I didn’t know what to say after receiving such tragic news. To say Dan and I are very sorry to hear Jim is so ill is an understatement, we were floored! Jim is such a cheeky chappy, full of health and vigour, always a smile. Our thoughts are with you all. Can only imagine what a shock you have all been through and the terrible days you are going through. I wish we could envelop you in our arms and absorb some of your pain, but sadly that is not possible. Instead we send you all our love. Know that you are in our thoughts.
IFE Board of Stewards
IFE Leadership, Fellows and Interns
The Kemper-Valentine family has allowed more people into their home than most people I know, and this lost weighs heavily upon me. I wish them all the best in the coming days as Jim's presence is one that cannot be replaced nor can the gravity of his insights be understated—a body of knowledge has returned to the heavens. I will remember him most for being the person in the room that kept everyone level-headed by cutting through the pretense of titles with a witty joke and keen observation. His knack for walking to person to person and group to group without changing his tone nor his phrasing gave life to the space. I wish the Kemper-Valentine family the time they need to adjust to this new reality.
I'm sure each of you remember Jim's larger than life personality, incredible sense of humor, and constant support for everyone that Coach brought into his and IFE's orbit. Jim is a man of incredible accomplishment, though he never used his intelligence or success to make others feel small or less than. He engaged the world with genuine interest and love of people (and golf).
Jim was one-of-a-kind, as you well know. He loved to tease me about...everything... but always did it with a twinkle in his eye, and I knew it all came from a sense of good fun and a kind heart. He was never dull company and will be sorely missed.
There are countless reasons to celebrate Jim Valentine's extraordinary life, two of which I especially came to appreciate. First, he embodied joie de vivre—marveling at the beauty of the great outdoors, making memories on every continent, and embracing all manner of adventures (it is not surprising in the least—indeed, it is eminently fitting—that he went paragliding in the last year of his life). Second, as seen with his longstanding commitment to advancing the promise of fusion power, he grappled with pressing challenges and thought boldly; where others saw impossibility, he saw opportunity.