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In Memoriam: Jim Verlinde

A pillar in the community.

Firm. Steadfast. Monumental. These are the words that come to my mind when I hear the word “pillar”. A pillar is a support for structure. It also means a person regarded as reliably providing essential support for an organization. It’s not a flashy. It’s not fancy. It is essential and often taken for granted for the support it provides. Jim Verlinde is a pillar of the Primetime Brewers.

First, let me thank Jim Verlinde for serving as the club secretary for the last 13 years!

The secretary is an often thankless job. We have seen him during meetings taking notes. No, these notes were not because he has a bad memory, nor was he just so taken by the president’s eloquence. These notes were taken so that we could all remember what was addressed last month. They are called minutes, and are essential to a fully functioning club.

One could argue that a club is not “official” without a newsletter. Probably his biggest duty was editing and publishing our most prestigious periodical, The Rubber Chicken. Before Jim was secretary, The Rubber Chicken was a difficult to read, meandering mess of a rag. Jim organized our newsletter in a more reader friendly magazine format than the old-timey newspaper format is used to be. He added more club information, the sponsor pages we enjoy today, and pictures. We all love pictures. Thanks to him I can now more easily check my score in the club Brewer-of-the-Year competition and strategize how to remain on top. For so long he has had to chase down the prez and any other contributors for their articles, organize the whole mess in a reader friendly format, fill in the gaps with additional material, get it in the mail (yes some members and all sponsors get it mailed to them), and post it online. No small task.

Jim retired from the post of Secretary of Primetime Brewers as of January of 2016. Chad Zomerlei has received the mantle and has some big shoes to fill. Thanks Jim.


Where did we get our champion of The Rubber Chicken? This month, in 1996, Jim’s sons gave him a pot and a beer kit for his birthday. Jim joined up with Primetime Brewers sometime after that. His first meeting was at The Hair of the Frog, present day Hideout Brewing. He was taken under the brewing wing of Randy Honeysett. Since then he has been making the beers he likes.

What beers are those you ask? Good solid styles. Jim was originally inspired by an ESB brewed by Tim Surprise at Big Buck Brewing. This beer really showed him how good beer could be. Jim brews many high-gravity stouts and Belgians for himself and his primary market, his sons. He won Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition with a trippel in 2005. When asked what one beer he would drink forever if only allowed one beer, he easily answered “Bell’s 2 Hearted”. You can see his tastes are varied, but run toward classic styles.

Who is this steadfast Primetimer? Jim is a graduate of MSU, class of 1967. He took his degree in Business Administration to work for his father’s Chevrolet-Buick dealership in Middleville. After the dealership was sold in 1982, he worked with several other auto dealers in the area until he retired 3 years ago. Jim was always in management and never in sales.

If he had ever joined a travelling circus, he would have wanted to be a clown. He was, after all, voted Class Clown for the class of 1963. He now spends much of his time with his wife, 4 sons and 12 grandchildren.

Jim eschews beer competitions because he feels they are “unreliable”. He brews what he likes, and likes what he brews. Apart from his brewing hobby, he is also an avid collector of records. He has a good collection of records that he listens to on an old Victrola record player.

Jim’s “brew what you like” attitude is a major facet to the homebrewer ethos. Homebrewing is a DIY hobby. Sure, we can find a plethora fine beers in our local beer store, but we like to use our creativity in making a beer exactly what we like. Jim likes straight up, classic styles. No frills, nothing too fancy, just good, simple beer. Jim has applied this attitude to his club. He has added the serious, expert, and technical merit aspects to Primetime Brewers’ reputation. Through his steady dedication to his craft and to his club, Jim Verlinde has become a bastion of Primetime Brewers and a monument in the brewing community.


This is reposted from the Rubber Chicken June 2016.

To view Jim's Obiturary, Click Here.


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