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James "Jim" Basinger '68 February 9, 2024 5:06 PM updated: February 9, 2024 5:29 PM

James Alton "Jim" Basinger 

July 8, 1946 - February 1, 2024 

The Reverend James Alton Basinger, passionate for the Old and New Testaments in English, Hebrew and Greek, and all things "Aggie," died on Feb. 1, 2024, after a courageous battle with cancer. Jim was born on July 8, 1946, in St. Louis, Mo., to Colonel Charles Spurgeon and Mildred Mills Basinger. The family moved to Short Hills, N.J., in 1956, so his father could commute to AT&T headquarters in Manhattan. Short Hills was the scene for the escapades in the book "Not Exactly Rocket Scientists," co-authored by Jim's neighborhood friends and partners-in-crime Gilbert E. "Bud" Schill Jr., John W. "Mac" MacIlroy and Robert D. "Rob" Hamilton III.

Jim was a proud member of the Class of '68 Texas A&M Corp of Cadets and the Fightin' Texas Aggie Marching Band. Son Charles owns the saxophone and also plays. Jim's father was in the class of '31 at Texas A&M and took Donna to her first game after the wedding. She says she is still recovering. After two years of military service, Jim pursued a graduate degree in journalism at Iowa State, but the classes that interested him most were elective classes on Christian thought. He wanted to know more about the church he attended since birth. That led to three years at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va., and a profound encounter with Jesus Christ, his creator, redeemer and sustainer.

In May 1975, Jim was ordained to the priesthood in the Protestant Episcopal Church and in November he married Donna Null at the church he served in Silver Spring, Md. In 1990, he received a call to serve as Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Anchorage, Alaska. So, Donna, Charles, Peter and Hope made the memorable trip from Sumter, S.C., to Anchorage.

In 2013, Jim retired from the Episcopal Church and received a call from Church of Our Saviour, Leesburg, Va. After seven wonderful years in Leesburg, with the luxury of driving to visit family and friends along the East Coast, Jim chose to retire in Anchorage to be near daughter Hope and resume attending the Thursday Evangelical Pastors Lunch. He also looked forward to opportunities to preach by "filling in" for vacationing minister friends.

Jim will be remembered for inaugurating a wildly popular summer day camp, called Summer's Best Two Weeks, at his parish in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1977. For many years he directed the Diocese of Alaska's youth camp at Meier Lake. He joined other All Saints parishioners to provide weekly summer Bible school for youth in remote villages along the Yukon River.

Jim was a board member, then President, of the Fellowship of Witness - the American branch of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion. He looked forward to board meetings and annual preaching conferences designed to encourage and provide training for Biblical preaching and teaching in the Episcopal and Anglican churches.

Charles is grateful for the years his father, a high school soccer player in Short Hills, coached his many soccer teams. He also remembers the years that his dad helped him with his paper route, which funded his passion for downhill skiing. Peter recalls the year he asked his dad to pick him up after a bike race. Jim agreed and then found out it involved flying to California, picking up Peter's car, driving it to Mexico where the 2700-mile Great Divide bike race ended, then driving Peter back to Anchorage. Jim labeled this the "Mother of all Pick-Ups." Hope's best memory is recent: Jim held her hand from his wheelchair as brother Peter pushed him down the aisle for her December wedding in Girdwood. She will especially miss discussing sermons she hears with her father.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; and older sister, Ann Wilkins of Falls Church, Va. He is survived by his devoted wife, Donna; sons, Charles of Birmingham, Mich., and Peter of Moab, Utah; daughter, Hope (Toby) Hubbard of Anchorage; and brother, John of Enumclaw, Wash.

A service of Thanksgiving to God for Jim's life will be held at 3 p.m., at All Saints Episcopal Church, 545 West 8th Avenue in Anchorage, on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. Afternoon tea will be served following the service in the Parish Hall. Interment will be held at Church of Our Saviour, Leesburg, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Jim's name to the Alaska Christian College in Soldotna, Alaska.


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