James "Jim"'s Story
James E. "Jim" Longnecker, 84, of Grove City passed away Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Grove City Medical Center, following a lengthy illness with Alzheimer's disease.
Jim was born in Dayton, Ohio, on Sept. 18, 1932.
Jim was a graduate of Roosevelt High School, Dayton. He earned a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green in 1954, and a master's degree from Miami University of Ohio in 1957.
He served in the U.S. Air Force as a first lieutenant from 1954 to 1956.
He married Jean V. Headley on Aug. 30, 1959; she survives at home.
Beginning in 1957, Jim enjoyed a 40-year career at Grove City College, where he served as head coach of the men's swimming and diving and team without a losing season. With a 366-93 (.797) record at retirement, he stood as the winningest active swim coach in NCAA Division III and among the top five in all NCAA classifications.
Jim also directed the men's track and field team for 40 years and served at the cross-country head coach for 12 seasons.
Jim was a pioneer in the swimming world and throughout his career he established many programs including the Blue Dolphin Swim Camp, which ran for 31 years, and the Masters Swim Program at the Grove City YMCA.
During his retirement he continued with the Masters Swim Program, he swam competitively and coached. He was honored when Grove City College dedicated and named the school's competition pool after him.
The International Swimming Hall of Fame and Mercer County Hall of Fame recognized him for his lifetime commitment as an educator and coach.
Jim was a member of Tower Presbyterian Church, Grove City, where he served as a deacon, elder and clerk of session.
He loved spending time with his family and years of summer vacations with them to Stone Harbor, N.J.
In addition to his wife Jean, he is survived by: four daughters, Barbara Longnecker, Arlington, Va.; Beth Emmett and husband Scott, Grove City; Karen Lapcevic and husband Jim, Acworth, Ga.; and Kelly Longnecker, Grove City; two grandchildren, Alexandra and Rebecca Lapcevic, Acworth; and a brother, Jon Longnecker and wife Sally, Greensboro, N.C.
His parents preceded him in death.
Memorials to: Alzheimers.org or James E. Longnecker endowment scholarship fund, c/o Grove City College, 100 Campus Drive, Grove City, PA 16127.
Published on September 18, 2017