Whimsical 03

James E. Cooney

August 27, 1944 ~ March 6, 2021 (age 76)


James Cooney passed away peacefully in the AM hours of Saturday March 6, 2021 in Ketchikan, AK with his wife Pamela by his side.  

Born in Chicago, IL on August 27th, 1944 to his hard working father George Cooney and loving mother Rosetta, Jim was the oldest of four siblings in a family grounded in the Catholic church and strong family values. Jim graduated from Bateman High School in 1962 choosing to forego his acceptance to Michigan State University to focus on developing the entrepreneurial spirit that propelled him to create a path all his own.

A few years after graduation, Irish Luck paid off for Jim when, at the urging of a close friend, he went on a blind date with a beautiful soft spoken young women named Pamela. Jim and Pam married in Arlington Heights on the 8th of April, 1967, telling the story often throughout the years after always pointing out that if it hadn’t been a blind date, he would not have met the woman who would stand by his side for the next 54 years.

With an undeniable charm and a relentless drive, Jim began building his name in the professional world with his restaurant The Original Key Club. Any given night of the week Jim could be found performing table side service and entertaining the Chicago locals with the charismatic story telling that would become one of his trademarks throughout his career.

After the Original Key Club, Jim ventured into what would become his lifelong passion in the Automotive Industry. Once again Jim put his charm to good use in Cadillac sales. Earning the moniker of Diamond Jim Cooney, he became the salesmen of choice for the Chicago elite, crossing paths with the likes of Mohamad Ali, and personally delivering a number of custom vehicles to Elvis Presley at his Graceland home per his request.

In 1978, Jim and Pam made the decision to move their now growing family to Redlands, CA falling in love with the quaint small town. Diving into the world of vehicle transportation, Jim once again began making a name for himself. Coordinating transportation for Auto Shows and high profile special events, Jim became a force throughout the industry.

Always a visionary, in 2000 Jim took his profound understanding of auto logistics from both the manufacturer and transportation aspects of the business and began developing what would become Brian Thomas Companies, Inc and more specifically the BTC Logistics program. A pioneering transportation coordination and logistics program that has set the standard in the industry year after year since first going on line in March of 2001.

In the words of the countless people Jim’s kind hearted nature and propensity to go above and beyond touched throughout his career; Jim was a trailblazer, an innovator, a legend who shared his knowledge and joy for the business with everyone, and has left an indelible mark on the industry forever.

Jim was the epitome of loyalty to those he trusted. He loved the Catholic church, always aware of the nearest location and services wherever he may be. He loved knowing the weather in all of his favorite places. Jim loved animals just as much as he loved to say that his daughters were the reason they had them. He loved model trains, was a fanatic of airplanes, and would intently listen to the air traffic control communications at take off and landing during all of his travels. A natural storyteller with a booming voice that was a magnet to everyone around, and he loved to embellish the infamous exploits of his life.

But more than anything in this world Jim loved his family. He was inseparable from Pam and lived to tease her throughout their days together. The wellbeing of his children was the driving force behind everything that he accomplished. Jim was fascinated by the insights of his grandchildren and went to whatever lengths necessary to insure their opportunities for success. Family was the core of Jim’s life and through his actions and words he lived as an inspiration for those around him to put family above all else.

To put it simply, Jim Cooney was a great man, who’s life was dedicated to improving the lives he was blessed to be a part of, and who were blessed to share in his.

Jim is survived by his wife Pamela Cooney. His children Jim M Cooney, Jennifer Cooney, Stephanie Baxman(John Baxman) and Megan Hicks(Todd Hicks), his 7 grandchildren Chloe, Brian and Jimmy Cooney, Johnny and Max Baxman, and Riley and Brady Hicks.

Also,  his brother Tom Cooney and sisters Susan Peters and Kathy Stolki.

He is preceded in death by his parents George and Rosetta Cooney and son Brian Thomas Cooney.



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