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April 01, 2022

It is with great sadness that Information Technology Services (ITS) announces the death of ITS retiree, Jim Warner who died on March 30, 2022.Jim retired from UCSC in 2019 after 41 years of truly dedicated service to the university. 

Jim came to UCSC in 1968 and obtained a PhD in Chemistry. He began working in the NatSci Electronics Lab and then went on to build the early versions of the campus network

Jim was the quintessential technologist, and he brought his curiosity and brilliance to everything that piqued his interest. If you needed to know about the phone switch, Cogen, the HVAC system, building construction, or yes, even computers, cable plant, and networking, Jim seemed to be a vast repository of knowledge and insight.

Jim was authentic. He didn’t pretend to know things he didn’t (we could never find many of those things anyway), and his communication style was always direct and focused on the issues under discussion. There is no greater pleasure than going through old Warner email archives, for there are always gems of humor that will make you laugh out loud, and pearls of wisdom that will cause you to scratch your head in wonderment as to how one person could contain so much knowledge.

Jim was also known for his ability to turn a pithy phrase. His wit often showed up in the middle of emails as he strived to make a point. Gems such as, “Better to squeeze one beet than 1000 turnips” or “We’re going to save money no matter how much it costs”.

Jim’s memory was astounding, and many staff found it a more useful data store than the disk drives on their computers. His ability to assimilate presentations and white papers and turn them into digestible email summaries was a gift to all on the receiving end. For many years, Jim carried colored rolls of tape with him, dispensing small pieces whenever needed to unsuspecting colleagues. And children. Speaking of which, Jim always made it a point when attending a conference or trade show, of which he went to many, to bring home gifts for the children of staff.

In 1999, a few of Jim’s close colleagues proclaimed June 25 as “International Jim Warner Day” in honor of such a great legend. They asked everyone in CATS (former name of ITS) to experience the world according to Jim and dress up to match his unique one-of-a-kind style – the hair done just so, the tilt of the pants, the bold choice of sock color w/ sandals, things in the beard. It was a day to remember for sure and Jim loved it! Jim Warner Day

Jim had a quality of character that stood apart, and stood out, and for which we are less for its loss. He was honored in 2018 with the Larry Merkeley Leadership Award. Jim will be greatly missed by many people at UCSC and in the Santa Cruz community.

Please join us in extending our deepest condolences to Jim’s family, colleagues, and friends. Details regarding his memorial are not yet available.

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