Cover photo for James Joseph Zorn's Obituary
James Joseph Zorn Profile Photo
1932 James 2023

James Joseph Zorn

June 28, 1932 — June 23, 2023


Jim Zorn of Waco, Texas died Friday, June 23 at the age of 90. He passed gently, surrounded by the warm embrace of his children and with the prayers of so many whose lives he touched.

James Joseph Zorn, a man of quiet and deep faith, was born on June 28, 1932 in the small farming town of Chatsworth, Illinois, which still has just one stoplight. He was the youngest of four children and a member of a proud German American family – emphasis on “American.” His father, an amateur boxer who managed the local bank, once knocked a man through a plate glass window for questioning his patriotism as World War II loomed so heavily over the country.

Jim threw afternoon newspapers (left-handed) from the seat of a bicycle, labored at a brick works and graduated from high school before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952. He was discharged as a corporal in 1954 and returned from Europe to Chatsworth, where he met an auburn-haired schoolteacher named Elizabeth Ann Smith, and knew she was the one. They married at the local Baptist church, took a honeymoon in Niagara Falls and set about building a life and family of their own.

First, though, Jim had to complete his education. They moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Elizabeth worked to put him through four years of college. Jim graduated from Colorado College in 1961 and began a long career with the retail giant Sears Roebuck. In nearly three decades of management with Sears, Jim went from Colorado Springs to Casper, Wyoming; back to Colorado Springs; then to Lubbock and finally to Waco. By the time they bought a house in Woodway, Jim and Elizabeth had four growing children – all old enough to enroll in the Midway public schools. He planted a row of live oaks in the front yard, and they stand resolute today.

After retiring from Sears in 1989, Jim took two weeks off and then started an entire second career – selling cars for the next two and a half decades to hundreds of people who frequently came back for an upgrade to the latest model because they knew he was an honest broker — friendly and trustworthy. Jim retired (again) from Jeff Hunter Toyota in 2017 to spend more time with Elizabeth, his children and grandchildren.

Outside of work, Jim lived a full life. He was president of Fish Pond Country Club, an elder at First Presbyterian Church, president of the Kiwanis Club of Waco, president of the Ford House Historic Home, a member of the Historic Foundation of Waco, and a member of Ridgewood Country Club. He and Elizabeth traveled together and saw a fair bit of the world and those were the stories he loved to tell the most.

Obituaries tend to be litanies of jobs, titles, accomplishments and survivors. Those are important but do not give the full measure of a man. Anyone who truly knew Jim knew that, ninety-eight times out of a hundred, he would find the bright side of any situation. He had deep gratitude for the small things in life: the song of a cardinal, the growth of an orchid, the missing front tooth of a grandchild, the crisp edges on a grilled cheese sandwich. As coronavirus shrunk his world the way it did for many people, these small things took on an even greater importance. He was grateful for every visit and every phone call, and he would want you all to know that.

Jim is survived by the one and only love of his life, Elizabeth, and by four children. They are Mark Zorn of Dallas; Russ Zorn of Solana Beach, Calif.; Beth (Zorn) Hicks of Waco (husband Paul); and Rebecca (Zorn) Lott of Austin (husband Tim). Jim’s grandchildren are Connor Zorn of Dallas; Kristina Speegle of Round Rock; Kristen Zorn of Austin; Reagan Zorn of San Diego; Ben Hicks of Atlanta, Ga; Jack Hicks of Dallas; and Seth and Annie Lott of Austin. Jim was one of four children – including Mary Ann, Bob and Helen. Jim is survived by Bob and Mary Ann.

The family would like to thank all of Jim’s many loving caregivers through the years, including Lauralee, Jasmine, Marvelous, Whitney and Alejandra.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider making a donation to Meals on Wheels Waco.

Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, June 28 from 5:30 – 7:30PM at Grace Gardens, 8220 Woodway Drive. Funeral services will be Thursday, June 29, 10am at First Presbyterian Church,1100 Austin Ave., with the Rev. Leslie King officiating. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery.

Registry for James Joseph Moore

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

5:30 - 7:30 pm (Central time)

Chapel of Grace Gardens Funera Home, Waco, Woodway

8220 Woodway Drive, Woodway, TX 76712

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Funeral Service

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

First Presbyterian Church of Waco

1100 Austin Avenue, Waco, TX 76701

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