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Jim F. Dicke, II ’68

The Art of the Good Life

By Donna Parker

“For the most part, my life turned out the way I thought it would,” says Jim F. Dicke, II ’68. He has led a charmed life – some inherited (the family business), but most self-generated by this Crown Equipment Corp. chairman and CEO who manages a $166 million Smithsonian renovation in Washington D.C., and as a Trinity University Trustee, serves as a member of the steering committee shepherding the University’s first capital campaign in 20 years.

Recently voted Man of the Year by his Ohio prep school, Jim comes across as a regular guy. Sure, he’s a player with credentials to crowd the boardroom walls, but he enthusiastically remembers happy times at Hipp’s Bubble Room and the Crystal Pistol and great burgers at Jim’s Frontier in San Antonio.

His first day on campus, Jim was stopped by a carload of girls, one of whom remembered him from a picture her brother (a prep-school friend of Jim’s) had shown her. She rolled down the car window and introduced herself. But, alas, it was her roommate who captured Jim’s heart. Janet and Jim married and had Jim III, 34, who is president of Crown, and Jennifer, 29, a Princeton and Duke grad, who is now a corporate marketing strategist in Chicago.

They are Jim’s greatest achievement as are his two grandchildren, Alex, 5, and Charlie, 1 ½, who prompt him to joke, “If I’d known grandkids were this much fun, I’d have had them first!”

He and Janet frequent New York City, enjoying the theater and expanding their art collection. “It’s the center of opportunity to see what’s happening in the art world.” They recently donated an extensive art collection to the new Northrup Hall on campus.

So, for someone who says things turned out pretty much as he expected, life is very, very good.