H. James (Jim) Baum died April 6, 2023 at the Kendal retirement community in Hanover, NH.
Jim was born March 20, 1938 to George and Iona (Gray) Baum in Morris, IL, where he attended 3 years of Morris High School and then two years at Culver Military Academy, IN, and received a BA from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. He met his wife, Carol, during college and they were married in Swarthmore, PA, on November 4, 1961. After two years in Munich, Germany, with Carol, Lt Baum US Army Inf. returned to Morris, where he become CEO of Baum’s Inc and Here’s Hallmark Shops. He was a third-generation retailer who, with Carol, operated a 132-year-old women’s apparel and a chain of Hallmark Shops until he retired and moved to Kendal at Hanover, NH, in 2014. He was also the managing partner of two commercial real estate companies.
Jim was the past-chairman of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the chair of the National Retail Association’s “Small Store Board of Directors”. He served for over a decade on the Executive Committee and as Board Secretary for the NRF. He was named as the National Retail Federation’s “1993 Small Store Retailer of the Year”. In 1997 Jim and Carol were named the “Illinois Retailers of the Year.”
Jim was a frequent speaker on issues of “Small Store Survival” and on the redevelopment of small town “Main Streets”. He was the co-founder of the “National Small Store Institute, and a contributor of articles on issues confronting small retailers.
Jim spent considerable time on civic activities in Morris. He was the founder and president of the Community Foundation of Grundy County and the Morris Downtown Development Partnership (a Main Street project). He was past president of the Morris Community High School Board of Education, of the Morris Hospital and of the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce. He was a 60-year member and elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Morris. Living in Hanover, he became a member of the Congregational Church at Dartmouth.
While in Hanover, Jim could not resist his love of retailing, so he ran for 6 years the local Clover Shop in the Kendal retirement community where they lived. Jim and Carol also contributed to numerous conservation initiatives in New Hampshire, such as the Pine Park Association and the renewal of the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge of Dartmouth. They also established the Baum Conservation Area on Moose Mountain just outside of Hanover. Consistent with his support for youth development projects in Morris, he and Carol also contributed to the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth for the establishment of an endowed fund to support student international internship opportunities.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Carol Baum.