In memory: James Stephen Brinks

James Stephen Brinks, 81, of LaPorte, died Thursday, June 11, at home, due to complications of Alzheimers disease.

Dr. Brinks was born in South Haven, Michigan, January 2, 1934, to Jacob E and Evelyn Kahne Brinks. The middle of five children, he was raised in a religious Lutheran home.james brinks

The family moved to Plymouth, Michigan, when he was 4 years old. He attended a one-room school house from kindergarten through fifth grade, when the school district was consolidated. He graduated from Plymouth High School in l952, from Michigan State University with a B.S. degree in l956, and with an M.S. degree in l957. His Michigan State education was largely paid for by 4-H scholarships earned for livestock judging. He belonged to the agriculture fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho.

He received his PhD in animal breeding and genetics from Iowa State University in l960. His first job was in Denver, with the USDA ARS from l960 through l967, where he was investigations leader for beef cattle breeding research for the land grant colleges in the 12 western states.

He joined the animal sciences faculty at CSU in l967 and continued there until his retirement as professor in l992. He was major adviser for 76 masters and PhD degrees, and made important contributions to the beef cattle industry. He received many awards including the J.R. Prentice Memorial Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics from the American Society of Animal Science,  the Jack E. Cermak Advising Award, and the Oliver P. Pennock Distinguished Service Award. He was author or co-author of more than 200 publications about beef cattle genetics and was often invited to speak at beef cattle meetings throughout the United States, Australia, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. His work and writings are well respected by academics and industry professionals alike.

He served for many years on the Larimer County planning commission, and on the board of directors of the Pleasant Valley and Lake Canal, and of the Larimer County Farm Bureau.

In l955 Jim married Sharon Lee Muir in Saline, Michigan. After giving birth to a son and adopting a daughter, she died of leukemia in l968. He married Rose Stehno Dean in l969 in the newly built Blessed John XXIII campus church. They lived on Sheely Drive in Fort Collins until moving for a one-year sabbatical in Maryland, and then permanently to their Laporte farm.

During this period he built a cabin on Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs which the family enjoyed for 30 years.

Jim is survived by his wife, Rose, his sons Kevin (Kati) Brinks of Centennial, Dr. Alan (Kathleen) Dean of Fort Collins, Rex Dean of Waltham, MA, Dr. Andrew Dean (Dr. Marta) of LaPorte, twins John Brinks of Fort Worth, Texas; and Jim Brinks of LaPorte; his daughters, Karen Wetzbarger of Loveland, Dr. Laura Pritchett (Dr. James) of Bellvue, and Mary Dean of Fort Collins; his siblings Donald Brinks of Pagosa Springs, Dave Brinks of Flint, Michigan., and Susan Shade of Fort Collins; 18 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

Jim was also preceded in death by his parents and his brother Kenneth Brinks.

Until triple bypass surgery in 2003, Jim loved smoking his corncob pipe, bowling, hunting, fishing, golf , skiing, playing poker, traveling and raising cattle. In the 1980s and 1990s, he developed a composite breed cow herd, which graced his historic farm along the Poudre River in Laporte. He was unquestionably a workaholic and both he and his family learned to build fence, ditch irrigate, buck hay, brand cattle, pull calves, garden and can, and all the rest that goes with farm life.

In 1993 the Provost and Claymore (aka Lessert) descendants of the original owners of his farm had a reunion in Laporte and took Jim into the Lakota Oglala Sioux tribe with the name: Down to Earth Man. Jim will be laid to rest in Grandview next to the grave of John Provost, the first owner of the farm.

The last 12 years of his life were clouded with Alzheimers, which he faced with reality and grace. He never lost his innate kindness or his gentleman’s dignity nor his desire every day to get up and go someplace.

A funeral mass concelebrated by the Reverends Steven Voss and Greg Ames will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, June 15 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fort Collins. Interment will follow at Grandview Cemetery. A reception will be held in Meredith Hall following the Interment.

Friends may send condolences to the family at In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Abbey of St. Walburga, to St. Joseph’s parish, or to a charity of choice.