Collected Tales from our Life's Journey's




Jim Crossley


Where have you been? and what have you been doing? - - - family, school, career, pastimes, good times, etc.

EHS 66 Collected Tales

Short summary of my journey

Ahem, I was born at a very early age. We moved to Ohio in 1954 and have called Columbus my home since then except for my 3.5 years in the Marine Corps.  After working my way thru & graduating from Ohio State with a degree in mathematics, I volunteered for the  USMC and went on active duty in 1971.  I attended boot camp prior to that and it was just as tough an experience as you can imagine.  I came out of the Marine Corps supremely self-confident that I could do anything I put my mind to.  I got married to my wonderful wife Celia in 1970 when we both graduated from OSU.  We have been together ever since.  I was stationed in Quantico, VA for a year and then went to Camp Pendleton for 2.5 years.  To this day I try to be the best I can be because it is true “Once a Marine, Always a Marine”.  
We returned to Columbus to be closer to our new daughter’s grandparents.  I used the GI Bill to get my MBA from Ohio State; and began my next adventure by entering the High Tech Industry.  My leadership skills were pretty good so The General Electric Company hired me a as Sales Manager for their remote computer services division.  At the time I was the youngest manager ever hired by GE.  I got to meet and talk with Jack Welch a few times.  He is a short beady-eyed intense person; but we somehow got along well.  I stayed there about 6 years and decided to try the small company world.  I tried 3 different small companies over a 4 year period and they all failed.  I then went with a slightly bigger on in 1989 called Sterling Software.  I got in on the ground floor of “paperless business applications” better known today as Electronic Commerce.  I met several big name business leaders.  My favorite was Sam Walton.  The founder of Walmart took a shine to me and gave me advice about becoming successful.  He said “Jim, keep trying and rember - you win with people”.  Wise words that have helped me a lot.  We grew Sterling Commerce like wildfire from 80 folks to over 2000 worldwide.  We went public and were sold in 2000.  By then I was a Sr VP of Sales & Marketing with over 150 people and over $350M in revenue.  The sale helped me fully understand (and really appreciate) the word equity.  Sterling was good to me.  After the sale I decided to try the small company world again.

This time it worked great.  The 5 of us took Internet Transaction Solutions (ITS) from zero to over $20m in just 5 years.  We sold it for $40m in cash & stock in 2008 Once again I learned to love an equity event.  The company that bought us asked me to stay on and after they made it worth my while; I did.  After 6 years this company was sold in 2014; and for the 3rd time I learned about equity.  This time the event was smaller; but still after going 0 for 3, I then went 3 for 3.  Go figure!

During all this, we had two wonderful daughters who are now married to two fine fellows.  One daughter & her family live here in Columbus; while the other lives in Chicago.  I keep telling my children to move to a warmer place; and we will surely follow; but nope so here we stay.

In 2014 I retired.  WHEEEE!  Six Saturdays and a Sunday.  My days are filled with grandchildren (3).  One granddaughter in Columbus, and a grandson & granddaughter in Chicago), golf, staying fit and some volunteering.  I am on the finance committee for our golf club, did 8 years as member of our condo board, and have beena reading volunteer for Columbus Inner City Schools.  That last one really makes me appreciate just how blessed I am.  

favorite high school memory

Favorite High School Memories – I enjoyed Mr. Lewis as a teacher.  Smart and witty.  I got to know him due to my duties as Senior Treasurer.  As I collected Senior Dues (quite a challenge), I would give the money to Mr. Lewis during his free period or before/after school.  We’d talk about everything.  A good one.  I enjoyed my buddies in high school.  Bob Gronek, Glen Mara, and a few more.  Recently I have enjoyed visiting and talking regularly with Steve Lefebvre and his lovely wife Betsy.  For the past several years I have worked with some fine EHS 66 classmates to plan our reunions.  What a fine group they are.  I have gotten to know them better with the passing of time.  I am delighted that I have done so.  The EHS bond is a strong one.  I urge you all to reach out; and give it a chance to do good things for you.

unique achievement

Unique Achievement – 3 equity events after 3 straight failures.  Surviving USMC Boot Camp and helping to raise a nice family.  That last one is a biggie.

standout event

Standout Events – Marriage, birth of 2 daughters, birth of 3 grandchildren, and saving a young lady during the riots on the Ohio State campus in 1970.  Protestors were out in great numbers on the Oval in 1970.  I was just walking across campus to my when the Ohio National Guard sent lots of tear gas into the crowd.  I saw a young pregnant co-ed become overcome by the tear gas and fall to the groung.  Remembering my gas training, I soaked my hanker-chief in water and put it over my nose & mouth to breathe.  I ran out to get her.  As I got closer the gas got thicker & thicker.  I got down on the ground and crawled to her.  She was alert; but hysterical.  I gave her my hankie and told her to use it to breathe.  I took a deep breath and dragged her back out to the outer edges of the crown.  I quickly found an aid station.  She told the medics she was 7 months pregnant; so they immediately whisked her away in an ambulance to OSU Hospital.  I walked to my car and drove home.  I never saw or heard from her again; but I like to think she & her baby are doing well.

unforgettable trip

Unforgettable Trip – A few – 4 all expenses paid trips to Hawaii, A golfing trip with 3 other couples to Scotland, and a business trip to the island of Malta.

little-known fact

Little Known Trip – Between our freshman & Sophomore years at Ohio State, Glen Mara and I hopped into his Austin Healy Sprite and took off for California.  We spent 2 weeks on the road visiting all kinds of places.  Driving through the rockies via the Rocky Mountain Park Parkway was spectacular.  We were whizzing along over 10,000 feet high with no guard rail at the time.  We stopped once and went down the side of a mountain.  We found a stream coming out of the mountain & drank our fill.   The water was splendid; and I can still taste it.  We got home fine and were the envy of our fraternity brothers.

You’ve come a long way in 55 years. Where are you going in the next five years?

Where are you going in 5 years?  - I’m not quite sure yet.  I’d like to take a tour of the great National Parks of the West, go on some kind of European cruise, and for sure continue to play as much as I can with my grandchildren.