JAMES DONLEY SHERMAN (JIM) Jim died December first in his home in El Segundo, California, from the effects of an inoperable brain tumor. He did not realize he was ill and, until near the end, would respond "very well," if asked how he was feeling. He had no pain and no mental agitation during his illness. Jim was born 24 November 1931 to Sarah Lena Donley Sherman and Thurston Hadley Sherman in Birmingham, Alabama. His childhood was spent in Birmingham's Southside in a three-generational household. This household included: his father and mother, his brother Thurston, and sister Agnes, his grandmother Mary Florence Herring Sherman, her children, Osburn Hamilton Sherman, a bachelor, and Nellie Sherman Harmon, a widow. All the adult members of the family cast their influence upon the children and the children learned from them. They knew they were loved and important to the family. They all lived together, in the same house, while Jim attended Lakeview Grammar School, Ramsay High School, and Auburn University. At Auburn, Jim became a star electrical engineering student and received BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering. His interest in electronics was spawned during two years service in the US Air Force during the Korean War. He was assigned duty as an electronics technician in Washington state and later in Alaska. He resumed his studies at Auburn after being discharged from the Air Force. Upon completion of his studies at Auburn, he was employed at Hughes Aircraft Corporation in Los Angeles. He advanced to become a senior scientist specializing in electro-optical control systems at Raytheon Corporation. He retired after reaching age 65 but continued working for Raytheon as an independent consultant until his illness disabled him. Jim's work was the primary purpose in his life. I believe if he could have had one wish, it would be to continue working with his colleagues at Raytheon. Jim was philosophically a libertarian and an atheist. He loved classical music and many forms of art. He treasured his friends. He is survived by his brother Thurston, his nephew Sherman Engler, and his niece Sally Engler, all residing in the Birmingham area.

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  1. We miss Jim so much here at Raytheon. His influence, wisdom, and love of teaching will be sorely missed. I send my condolences to his family.

  2. I was very sad to hear about Jim’s passing. In my 26 years at Hughes Aircraft and then at Raytheon, I had the great pleasure of being in close association with Jim. We went through many tasks together and thanks to Jim we always were able to solve the difficult technical issues. Jim was a great friend and an awesome mentor. I admired the enthusiastic way he attacked all challenges. He was a very personable fellow who will be deeply missed by those of us who had the great pleasure of being influenced by his knowledge, dedication and kindness.

  3. Jim was the kind of person who could make a bad situation better by just showing up and having that smile come out. That smile was infectious. He was always a great help in getting the actual problem solved, but that was just the icing on the cake. Having him around just seemed to start an improvement in the situation no matter how bad it was. You couldn’t want to meet a nicer person or more genuine good guy. He put up with our complaining and taught us more than just motor science; he set an example of how to be a polite human being. That was the most memorable part of knowing Jim. We have lost a class act. I will miss his optimism. I will miss our long talks at lunch. I will miss his expertise. Most of all, I will miss his company.

  4. Jim was a co-worker and friend of mine for over 20 years at Raytheon/Hughes in El Segundo. I always enjoyed working with him as he was very knowledgeable and professional. We had many interesting chats over lunch in the cafeteria and enjoyed many common interests. Seems like I just had lunch with him recently, can’t believe he has passed, I will miss him very much. Dave McGorrin

  5. I’ll miss Jim’s ever present smile. I had the pleasure of knowing Jim for quite a few years here at Hughes/GM/Raytheon and will miss him. He was truly one of the good guys in this world!

  6. With this entry, I want to honor the memory of a good man and loyal friend. Over the 43 year period I knew Jim, I came to treasure his desire to understand both the world around him, and the world within him. His engineering work was only the outward manifestation of his curiosity. He delighted in making new discoveries and was among the first to adopt new technologies as they came on the market. Jim was also an avid student of psychology and worked with diligence to bring order to his thoughts and feelings. Understanding was only the first part, because he would follow a new revelation with an effort to implement his new knowledge, to become a better person. It was my pleasure to share much time with Jim, from weekly lunches and occasional lectures, to picnics at outdoor venues, and frequent concerts. We have lost a good man.

  7. Jim Sherman was the ultimate Southern Gentleman. It was my absolute pleasure to know this kind and intelligent man, not to mention a terrific dancer. He shall be greatly missed.

  8. God saw you getting tired, When a cure was not to be. So He wrapped his arms around you, and whispered, “Come to me”. You didn’t deserve what you went through, So He gave you rest. God’s garden must be beautiful, He only takes the best And when I saw you sleeping, So peaceful and free from pain I could not wish you back To suffer that again. My prayers are with you and your family.

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