James R. Walkinshaw

April 1, 1935May 5, 2013

Age 78, passed away on Sunday May 5th, 2013 in Lansing MI from a massive stroke. He was born April 1, 1935 in Battle Creek, MI to Dr. Lawrence and Clara (Cartland) Walkinshaw. Graduate of Battle Creek High School June, 1953. Graduate of General Motors Institute with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering June, 1957 and was sponsored by Oldsmobile Division of General Motors. Career spanned 33 years at Oldsmobile Division and retired in 1986 as Superintendent of Manufacturing Engineering at Delta Engine Plant. Retirement years included co-authoring with Helen Earley the Oldsmobile centennial book “Setting the Pace”, “Oldsmobile War Years Pictorial”, and “Oldsmobile the Last Chapter”. Jim and Helen also co-founded the Oldsmobile History Center. Jim and wife Janet married on Aug 17, 1957 and celebrated their 55th anniversary this past summer with family at a long time family retreat on Lake Michigan. Preceeded in death by parents Lawrence and Clara Walkinshaw, and son Steven Walkinshaw. Survived by spouse Janet, sister Wendy Schake of Port Aransas TX, sons Ron of Stillwater MN and Alan of Plymouth MI., grandsons David, Tommy, Jimmy, and granddaughter Kelsey. Interests and hobbies include driving a 1905 Oldsmobile. Curved Dash was Jim’s pride and joy late in life. Giving rides and explaining the Curved Dash history to his passengers was enjoyable to both. Jim volunteered his time freely at the RE Olds Transportation Museum; Amateur (Ham) radio operator W8JGB for 61 years with lifelong friends Bob Shaw and Jack Caldwell and continued with son Ron; Boy Scouts, since achieving rank of Eagle as a youth Jim became an active member of Lansing Troop 411 and 44 years of subsequent adult leadership; Jim’s interest in Railroading including building from scratch a scale model steam engine and diesel engine with a scale model track on his family farm. Jim’s other volunteering activities included Delhi Township Planning Commission and Zoning Appeals Board and Capital Area District Library In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations to be made to the: RE Olds Transportation Museum 240 Museum Drive Lansing, MI 48933 has Paypal link under “support” Boy Scouts of America Troop 33 C/O Chris Klaver 1217 W Ionia St Lansing, MI 48915 517-290-0998

Private Burial will be at Markham Cemetery, Grovenburg Rd, Holt, MI on Wednesday May 8th. The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at


  • No service to be held

James R. Walkinshaw

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August 12, 2013

Dear Walkinshaw Family:

I had the honor of working with Jim to preserve the Leavenworth Photographic Collection. Jim honored Helen's trust by single-handedly securing and thus saving the most complete photographic record of the Oldsmobile Motor Company. Plus, Jim was one of the nicest people I've ever met. My oldest daughter and I had the privilege of riding with Jim on the Curved Dash. It's forever cemented in both of our memories.

Warmest Regards,

Mark E. Harvey
Archivist of Michigan
Archives of Michigan

Bill Sandy

June 10, 2013

Whatever measure you choose, Jim Walkinshaw was a great man. Worker, historian, mechanic, writer, businessman, hobbyist, scout, philanthropist, and friend - Jim filled all these roles with excellence. He will be missed; he can never be replaced.
Bill Sandy, Westtown, NY

June 9, 2013

God speed and God bless you Jim W.
Your deeds will never be forgotten.

R Miller

Jim Russell

May 16, 2013

Walkinshaw family, I am proud to call Jim my friend. We often worked hand in hand with Helen Early at the R.E. Oldsmobile museum and other Oldsmobile events. He was also a fun guy to know and work with
Jim Russell

Mike Walters

May 10, 2013

Dear Janet
Jim has been a good friend and mentor, always so generous with his time and knowledge. What fun times we had working on and driving our Curved Dashes, creating many great memories. Our deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family. - Mike and Sue Walters

Ted Graham

May 10, 2013

Dear Janet - We were stunned to learn that Jim had passed away. We admired his knowledge, friendly smile, cheerful attitude and hard work and knew he was a real treasure to all of the REOTM volunteers. We felt privileged to know him and especially enjoyed traveling with you and Jim on the museum's London to Brighton Curved Dash Tour last year. Jim will be deeply missed and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to you and your family - Ted and Jacquie

Laura Pratt

May 10, 2013

Walkinshaw Family, My sincerest sympathy on your loss. Jim was knowledgeable and an interesting individual to work with while he was at Oldsmobile. After his retirement, his true passion for the History of Oldsmobile emanated from himself and his co-history partner Helen. We will miss seeing him at the annual Oldsmobile gathering tooling around in his Curve Dash. Laura Pratt

May 9, 2013

Dear Walkinshaw Farmily:
I have known Jim for many years, although not close. He has been a valuable member of our CDO Club helping with information and drawings to help others restore their cars. We share the same birth date, April 1 although he was 3 years older. We both are amature radio operators, have a passion for early Oldsmobiles and have been married for over 50 years. Although I have not been active in the Boy Scouts, my son Mark was a divisional leader for a couple of years in the St. Paul group.

Jim is my last contact with an Oldsmobile connection. Helen Earley was my first and both have contributed much to the hobby.

I hope Jim's personal collection of Oldsmobile material will be passed on to an interested member of the family or to the REO museum so it can be shared with others.

Gary Hoonsbeen
3455 Florida Ave No.
Minneapolis MN 55427

May 9, 2013

Janet, we send our sympathy for Jim's passing. We came to know you through Scouts as our son Daniel spent good years in Jims troop. Jim was a fun and helpful guy, and we all liked and appreciated him. He gave much of himself for Daniel and all the other scouts over the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Bob and Marilyn Irvine

May 9, 2013