James W. Mabie Memorial | WTTW

James W. Mabie ~ 1935-2021

James W. Mabie passed away on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at the age of 85.

Jim served as Trustee at WTTW and WFMT for 20 years and as Board Chair from 2014-2020. He was an invaluable advocate for public media and fine arts broadcasting and had an affinity for WTTW’s Chicago Tonight and an eclectic appreciation for the classical and folk music presented on WFMT. On May 5, 2021 Jim was honored at WFMT and WTTW’s gala celebrating the 70th anniversary of WFMT – Your Front Row Seat: A Celebration of Music and the Arts – for his contributions to the arts community.

Tribute to Jim Mabie, May 2021

During his leadership as Board Chair, Jim was instrumental in the appointment of Sandra Cordova Micek as President and CEO. Jim oversaw the successful completion of the organization’s largest capacity-building campaign, the Imagining More campaign and its major projects including the launch of the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, the 10 that Changed America national PBS series, and several digital productions including Math in Music. He helped create and launch the 3-year Strategic Plan, participated in WTTW’s Diamond Anniversary, and was instrumental in the formation of a Community Engagement program.

Curious, invested, and accessible, Jim was an engaged Board Chair and Trustee. When visiting the station, he would meaningfully connect with staff and volunteers, join team meetings, and attend events such as our annual galas and live performances in the Daniel & Fay Levin Performance Studio. Jim also travelled to Havana, Cuba with fellow Trustees and staff during the filming of Weekend in Havana.

Jim’s passion for the organization and his many interests translated to his philanthropy. He actively supported general operations and programming for WTTW and WFMT on every platform, including WFMT’s Introductions and multiple Challenge Grants during Membership Drives; WTTW’s Fall Arts Festival, Geoffrey Baer’s Chicago By ‘L’ , and the Chicago presentation of Ken Burn’s National Parks; and all three seasons of the digital-first series Firsthand, among others. He also made the inaugural leadership gift to the WTTW Fund for Independent News, supporting his belief that public media is essential to an informed citizenry and democracy.

In addition to his service as Trustee and Chair at WTTW and WFMT, Jim was actively involved in the philanthropic community particularly in the areas of public media, arts and culture, and social services. To name some of his volunteer commitments, he served with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, WBEZ Public Radio, Thresholds, Old Town School of Folk Music, the Cara Program, and was the founding Chair of Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts).

Jim was the Chair of Chicago Capital since 2018 after holding senior leadership and portfolio management roles with William Blair and A.G Becker. Early in his career, Jim spent thirteen years in the retail business with Marshall Field & Company. Jim is survived by his wife, Kay, and their four children, Sarah, David, Martha, and Anne, and their families.

Memories of Jim

“Jim embodied not only the mission of public media but also the mission of public service.”
David Blowers, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 2020-present

“Jim realized the importance of public media, and that it brings something to people that they can’t get elsewhere. He was totally committed to that mission.”
Norm Bobins, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 2008-2014

“Jim knew that making the world a better place means participating and supporting organizations and people throughout our city. All of us appreciate Jim’s decades of leadership.”
Jill Britton, WTTW | WFMT Chief Development Officer

“Throughout his 20-year partnership with WTTW and WFMT, Jim was a mission-driven and trusted advisor, most recently serving on the governance, development, and finance committees of the Board. Jim’s thoughtful leadership, service, philanthropy, mentorship, and sense of humor will be greatly missed. Our staff will remember Jim’s enduring encouragement, and his highest praise – ‘first rate’! On behalf of WTTW and WFMT, I extend gratitude to Jim for his tireless support and dedication to our work in service of the public.”
Sandra Cordova Micek, WTTW | WFMT President & CEO

“WTTW and WFMT benefited from Jim’s vision, knowledge and capable leadership. It was a privilege and pleasure working with him.”
Renée Crown, WTTW | WFMT Renée Crown Public Media Center

Jim’s values were perfectly aligned with those of public media – integrity, empathy, curiosity, willingness to hear new ideas and courage.”
Sandra Guthman, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 2002-2008

“Jim Mabie’s passing marks the end of a most noble career of an outstanding caring Chicagoan. When I think of Jim, I think of his remarkable qualities for caring and his generosity of spirit, all of which were marked by an extraordinary humility.”
Mike Koldyke WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 1996-2002

“Thoughtful. Quiet. Understated. Dedicated to the public square and community.”
John McCarter, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 1989-1996

“Jim knew that everything in a democracy depends on an informed citizenry and he was devoted to making that possible.”
Newton Minow, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 1967-1973

James W. Mabie ~ 1935-2021

James W. Mabie passed away Saturday, May 8, 2021 at the age of 85.

Jim served as Trustee at WTTW and WFMT for 20 years and as Board Chair from 2014-2020. He was an invaluable advocate for public media and fine arts broadcasting and had an affinity for WTTW’s Chicago Tonight and an eclectic appreciation for the classical and folk music presented on WFMT. On May 5, 2021 Jim was honored at WFMT and WTTW’s gala celebrating the 70th anniversary of WFMT – Your Front Row Seat: A Celebration of Music and the Arts – for his contributions to the arts community.

Tribute to Jim Mabie, May 2021

During his leadership as Board Chair, Jim was instrumental in the appointment of Sandra Cordova Micek as President and CEO. Jim oversaw the successful completion of the organization’s largest capacity-building campaign, the Imagining More campaign and its major projects including the launch of the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, the 10 that Changed America national PBS series, and several digital productions including Math in Music. He helped create and launch the 3-year Strategic Plan, participated in WTTW’s Diamond Anniversary, and was instrumental in the formation of a Community Engagement program.

Curious, invested, and accessible, Jim was an engaged Board Chair and Trustee. When visiting the station, he would meaningfully connect with staff and volunteers, join team meetings, and attend events such as our annual galas and live performances in the Daniel & Fay Levin Performance Studio. Jim also travelled to Havana, Cuba with fellow Trustees and staff during the filming of Weekend in Havana.

Jim’s passion for the organization and his many interests translated to his philanthropy. He actively supported general operations and programming for WTTW and WFMT on every platform, including WFMT’s Introductions and multiple Challenge Grants during Membership Drives; WTTW’s Fall Arts Festival, Geoffrey Baer’s Chicago By ‘L’ , and the Chicago presentation of Ken Burn’s National Parks; and all three seasons of the digital-first series Firsthand, among others. He also made the inaugural leadership gift to the WTTW Fund for Independent News, supporting his belief that public media is essential to an informed citizenry and democracy.

In addition to his service as Trustee and Chair at WTTW and WFMT, Jim was actively involved in the philanthropic community particularly in the areas of public media, arts and culture, and social services. To name some of his volunteer commitments, he served with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, WBEZ Public Radio, Thresholds, Old Town School of Folk Music, the Cara Program, and was the founding Chair of Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts).

Jim was the Chair of Chicago Capital since 2018 after holding senior leadership and portfolio management roles with William Blair and A.G Becker. Early in his career, Jim spent thirteen years in the retail business with Marshall Field & Company. Jim is survived by his wife, Kay, and their four children, Sarah, David, Martha, and Anne, and their families.

Memories of Jim

“Jim embodied not only the mission of public media but also the mission of public service.”
David Blowers, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 2020-present

“Jim realized the importance of public media, and that it brings something to people that they can’t get elsewhere. He was totally committed to that mission.”
Norm Bobins, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 2008-2014

“Jim knew that making the world a better place means participating and supporting organizations and people throughout our city. All of us appreciate Jim’s decades of leadership.”
Jill Britton, WTTW | WFMT Chief Development Officer

“Throughout his 20-year partnership with WTTW and WFMT, Jim was a mission-driven and trusted advisor, most recently serving on the governance, development, and finance committees of the Board. Jim’s thoughtful leadership, service, philanthropy, mentorship, and sense of humor will be greatly missed. Our staff will remember Jim’s enduring encouragement, and his highest praise – ‘first rate’! On behalf of WTTW and WFMT, I extend gratitude to Jim for his tireless support and dedication to our work in service of the public.”
Sandra Cordova Micek, WTTW | WFMT President & CEO

“WTTW and WFMT benefited from Jim’s vision, knowledge and capable leadership. It was a privilege and pleasure working with him.”
Renée Crown, WTTW | WFMT Renée Crown Public Media Center

Jim’s values were perfectly aligned with those of public media – integrity, empathy, curiosity, willingness to hear new ideas and courage.”
Sandra Guthman, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 2002-2008

“Jim Mabie’s passing marks the end of a most noble career of an outstanding caring Chicagoan. When I think of Jim, I think of his remarkable qualities for caring and his generosity of spirit, all of which were marked by an extraordinary humility.”
Mike Koldyke WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 1996-2002

“Thoughtful. Quiet. Understated. Dedicated to the public square and community.”
John McCarter, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 1989-1996

“Jim knew that everything in a democracy depends on an informed citizenry and he was devoted to making that possible.”
Newton Minow, WTTW | WFMT Board Chair, 1967-1973