[Tall-Corn] Jim Omvig Obituary

Michelle Sherman michellefoxysherman at icloud.com
Fri Jun 17 03:23:59 UTC 2022

James Omvig Obituary

James (Jim) Harlan Omvig of Altoona, Iowa, was 
born on February 12, 1935 in Roland, Iowa, to 
Herma and Jens Omvig and was raised in Slater, 
Iowa.  Jim graduated from the Iowa Braille and 
Sight Saving School in Vinton, Iowa and later 
attended the training center at the Iowa 
Commission for the Blind, Drake University and 
completed his higher education at Loyola 
University of Chicago School of Law, from which he holds a Juris Doctor degree.

Jim worked in the legal profession for a number 
of years (being the first blind attorney hired by 
the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, 
D.C.) then moved to his passion — working with 
and for the blind community.  He worked first as 
the Director of the Training and Orientation 
Center at the Iowa Commission for the 
Blind.  Later he held positions at Social 
Security Headquarters in Baltimore and as 
Director of the Alaska Training Center for the 
Blind.  He also authored three books related to 
blindness training and rehabilitation and was 
appointed to a committee position by President Bush.

Jim devoted his life and talents to fighting on 
behalf of the blind for civil rights, training 
and equality.  As a leader in the National 
Federation of the Blind, he was instrumental in 
improving the lives of blind people throughout 
the country by effecting legal and policy changes 
and more importantly by inspiring and training 
blind children and adults to be independent, 
contributing equals in our society.

Jim was always a pleasure to be with. His 
cheerful, positive attitude and personality was 
evident in his work and personal life and anyone 
who knew him can attest to it!  In his work he 
taught it is “OK to be blind.”  In his 
personal life he inspired and warmed his family 
and friends with his love and kindness. His 
adored and loving wife Sharon was by his side for 
48 years of adventures, and they accomplished so 
much together.  He was a very talented musician 
—played piano, trombone and loved to sing.  He 
funded his law school costs in part by playing 
and singing in local supper clubs.  He also wrote 
several songs —” devotions of love to his wife, primarily.

He loved to train dogs and had a passion for old 
cars — he was particularly fond of his 1968 Ford 
XL convertible. His love of music was constant 
and very traditional.  The Big Band era was his 
favorite, and Frank Sinatra was always a staple. 
There was rarely a phone call he didn’t take or 
a message he didn’t return.  His family, 
friends and colleagues were the recipients of his 
kindness and generosity throughout his life.

Jim passed away on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.  He 
was preceded in death by his parents, and 
brothers Clayton and Peter.  He is survived by 
his wife Sharon, son James II and his wife Jamie, 
sister Janet Gawith, granddaughter Brittany 
Nichols (Dan) and great grandsons Seth and Alexander Nichols.

Memorial contributions can be made to the 
National Federation of the Blind, 200 East Wells 
Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD  21230.

Visitation will be held at 10 am with a 
Celebration of Life at 11 am on June 24 at 
Lutheran Church of Hope, 925 Jordan Creek 
Parkway, West Des Moines, IA, with a luncheon following.

The Celebration of Life will be live-streamed at 

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