With hearts full of love, yet breaking from the immense loss, we announce the death of beloved coach, friend, son, brother, Tito, father and husband, Rob James. He passed in the early hours of May 5, 2023, close to his home in Liberty, Missouri, with his wife, Winky James, and dear friend, Darla Staton, at his side.
When Rob was informed of the severity of his cancer prognosis, an entire community rallied behind him “Ready For Battle.” Rob’s physician asked if he had a bucket list. Rob responded that he was already living his bucket list. Instead, Rob’s inspiring motto of the last years of his life has been: “Make memories.”
With unending love and admiration, we share the memories of his life.
Born in St. Joseph, Missouri to Reed and Carol James, he was the youngest of two children.
His talent, brilliant mind, positive attitude and skill contributed to his well-rounded success on the basketball court, baseball field, in the classroom, the courthouse, the community and of course, at home. Rob was a graduate of Benton High School and the University of Missouri — Columbia, graduating with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. He was an active Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity member. He went on to attain his Juris Doctorate with Distinction from the University of Missouri — Kansas City.
Rob was well-read and politically-minded with an encyclopedic brain. This contributed to his trivia wizardry, natural affinity for the Rubik’s cube, Sudoku, the NY Times Spelling Bee and many “Words with Friends” games, as well as his law practice. He diligently advocated for individuals and small businesses across the country that deeply trusted his guidance.
Sydney Triplett, Rob’s daughter, explained to her mother that Rob came into their lives during a difficult, transitional time. “Rob came when we needed him.”
He married Winky on February 14, 2003. His blended family included Sydney and Jackson Triplett and later in 2003, they welcomed Quinton Robert James.
Rob was deeply passionate about sports. From flag football, baseball, basketball, fantasy football, tennis, pickleball and coaching youth leagues, sports were ever present in his life. He was a sports writer and also a former scout for the Cleveland Indians. Coach James has coached throughout the metro since he was 19 years old. This included serving as a baseball and basketball coach at Winnetonka High School. Since 2011, he served on the athletic coaching staff of Liberty North High School. He was a staple in the dugout and in the Fieldhouse, lending an extra hand whenever needed.
As described by the Courier-Tribune, the outpouring of support for James’ family has been nonstop from the Kansas City metro. Rob never met a stranger. He loved those around him and was loved in return. He always put family first. He is survived by many loved ones near and far and especially his father, Reed; his sister, Carla; his children, Sydney, Jackson and Quinton; and the love of his life, his wife Winky. As Winky has said, “he was half of my brain and all of my heart.”
“Simply put, there’s no better human being than Coach James,” Liberty North’s athletic department tweeted.
While reading the myriad of tributes from Rob’s friends, Jackson expressed, “he was my best friend,” and said he knew that there are so many others who would say the same. Rob didn’t just interact with people, he truly invested in them. His lasting impact on the lives in this community will be felt long after his passing.
As so many have shared, there are countless quotes, jokes, stories and lessons that Rob shared with his loved ones throughout their lives. Key among those lessons has been captured well by Quinton: “My dad always told me to show up and do the work. So I try to show up and do the work.”
As Sydney further explained, Rob left knowing that we are in a good place. That was the impact of Rob in many people’s lives. We are all better because we knew and loved Rob.
A celebration of Rob's life will be held Friday, May 26, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. at the John Gano Memorial Chapel on the campus of William Jewell College, 500 College Hill, Liberty, Missouri 64068. In lieu of flowers, a memorial scholarship fund will be finalized soon.
Arrangements entrusted to Hidden Valley Funeral Homes.
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