James M. Winey, 89, of North Oaks, passed away at home January 10, 2024. James was born April 18,1934 to parents Virgil and Eldridge in Deloit, Iowa. He was united in marriage to Karen (Christensen) on December 19, 1959. Together they raised their family in White Bear Lake, MN. Jim was born and grew up in Iowa farm country. He was among 7 students in his high school graduation class in Deloit, Iowa. He liked to brag about being a member of the basketball team which occasionally had to ‘borrow’ players from other schools to complete a team . Jim knew early on that he did not want to be a farmer. After high school he joined the army and was sent to Korea where he learned how to operate heavy machinery. When Jim returned home from Korea, he began his studies at Iowa State University and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. Shortly before graduation, Jim met the love of his life Karen. Following graduation, he began working for John Deere, then 3M before taking the entrepreneurial risk of starting his own company. The risk paid off and Magnepan thrived during the 70’s and 80’s. James invented and patented a revolutionary loudspeaker technology and founded the company Magnepan located in White Bear Lake, MN. He was a committed audiophile and was constantly looking for better sound. His idea of the ultimate test was to go to a concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and then return home to try to reproduce the sound of the live performance – a goal he would say has never been achieved by anyone. The company is still in business with worldwide distribution and is being captained by his son Mark. Jim was a consummate inventor. In addition to the speaker design, he acquired a patent in a tone‐arm – the Unitrac which sold over 10,000 units. He also patented a true ribbon tweeter which involved using ultra‐pure Aluminum rolled extremely thin in order to reduce mass. To this day the tweeter is the world’s gold standard in high frequency sound production. Jim’s subsequent inventions include a reaction‐time game and a versatile bib for messy eaters. When James was not working, he enjoyed spending time outdoors with his family. A favorite memory of the family was a month‐long trip to Alaska (driving the unpaved Alaska highway with 4 teenagers in tow). What a brave man! The family also enjoyed backpacking trips, canoeing, and camping. Most recently Jim could be found at his table putting together jigsaw puzzles, often hours at a time. He also loved watching Iowa State men’s basketball – go Cyclones! Jim was passionate in his support for Iowa State, funding several scholarships per year. Jim was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Survived by his loving wife of 64 years Karen (Christensen) and children Mark (Faamati), Steven (Tammy) and Ellen (Michael), grandchildren: Christopher (Aubrey), Shannon (Kyle), Casey and Parker, great‐grandchildren: Levi and Leti. Sister Barbara (John). Preceded in death by son Curtis and parents: Virgil (mother) and Eldridge (father), Sister Marilyn (Wendell) and Brother Kay (Colleen). A celebraƟon of life will be held April 18, 2024 at Rudy’s Grill in White Bear Lake, 4‐8pm. This would have been Jim’s 90th birthday. Out of Jim’s love of music, memorials may be made to Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, MN.
A Memorial Tree was planted for James
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society of Minnesota