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Jim's Charm, Bear Hugs and Enthusiasm for Life will be Greatly Missed

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Jim with his TMI Facilitator Lorinda Elder
Jim with his TMI Facilitator Lorinda Elder

With great sadness, we announce the passing of our wonderful client James “Jim" at 61. Jim, who had Down syndrome, was a client with the Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) Tailored Day Services program which assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with tailoring their day based on their personal choices, hopes and dreams. According to Jim’s TMI Facilitator of more than four years Lorinda Elder, Jim was a charming character who was loved by many and a cancer survivor.

Prior to the pandemic, Jim and Lorinda would go to Sit-N-Fit at Alpine Community Center and Jim enjoyed attending in-person TMI events with Lorinda. He was active in bowling tournaments held at Parkway Bowl in El Cajon and liked working out with the Silver Sneakers program at 24 Hour Fitness although he insisted that he was NOT a senior.

Jim and Lorinda at a TMI CONNECT Event
Jim and Lorinda at a TMI CONNECT Event

Jim enjoyed talking with people and was a very affectionate person who loved hugs which made social distancing very difficult for him. During the pandemic, Jim and Lorinda went on walks around his community until Jim reached his step count goal for the day. Jim and his parents had difficulties with technology, so he was only able to join a few of TMI’s virtual events with Lorinda’s help. Sadly, Jim’s father passed just one month before Jim.

Jim and TMI Executive Director Rachel Harris
Jim and TMI Executive Director Rachel Harris

When Lorinda first met Jim, he wanted to run for President and coach the San Diego Padres. Lorinda said that he was a very ambitious gentleman.

Jim also had a fascination with KUSI News because he watched it every morning and felt as if he knew the anchors. Jim asked Lorinda if she would take him to the KUSI station. She wasn't sure about the idea at first, but he eventually won her over. They went to KUSI to ask if they offered tours of the station. The receptionist was very nice and called the public relations representative who came out and offered an autographed picture of one of the anchors. Jim convinced the man that it would it be "OK" to just let him look around “really quick.” Jim could be very persistent in an endearing way. When they entered the back of the studio, Jim ran into one of the morning anchors and greeted him with a big bear hug. Jim told the anchor he knew him because in his mind he did. The anchor then took Jim and Lorinda on a private tour of the studio. He even went as far as to turn the stage lights on and let Jim sit on the couch for a pretend interview and photo. Jim was so excited! The gentleman who took us on the tour was David Davis who, sadly, was killed in a car accident in September 2018.

“I’d like to believe Jim and David are sitting on a couch in Heaven, chatting,” said Lorinda. We hope so too. Jim will be greatly missed. Our condolences to Lorinda and Jim’s family. May he rest in peace.


Facts About Down Syndrome

1. Down syndrome occurs in approximately one in 700 births.

DS is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States. Around 6,000 babies — or one in 700 — are born with DS every year.

2. There are three types of Down syndrome.

Trisomy 21: In 95% of cases, babies born with DS have one extra copy of chromosome 21, giving them three total.

Translocation: In 3% of cases, a partial or whole chromosome is attached (translocated) to a different chromosome rather than being a separate chromosome 21.

Mosaic: In about 2% of cases, some of the person’s cells have three copies of chromosome 21, but other cells have two copies. Children with mosaic Down syndrome have fewer characteristics of Down syndrome.

3. Down syndrome has been depicted in historical paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Down syndrome is not new — in fact, the first evidence of its existence dates back 2,500 years. The facial features of DS are found in some ancient pottery and paintings. The syndrome is named after John Langdon Down, an English doctor who published a clinical description in 1866.

4. The family and personal impact of having a child with Down syndrome is overwhelmingly positive.

Studies on the impact of DS on families show that 96% of parents did not regret having a child with Down syndrome, while 96% of siblings wouldn’t trade their sibling with Down syndrome for a sibling without it. And 99% of people with Down syndrome say that they are happy with their life.

5. The life expectancy for people living with Down syndrome continues to increase.

In the 1960s, the average life expectancy for children with DS was age 10. Today, that number is age 60 and higher, thanks to new therapies and medical care that improve quality of life for people with DS.

6. People with DS are living higher quality lives than ever before, thanks to appropriate medical care, supportive therapies, and educational options.

People with DS benefit from medical care options that were not available years ago. From speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy to inclusive educational environments, people with DS have more opportunities than ever before.


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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