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James Todd Glenn
August 27, 2023
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James Todd Glenn, of Lower Burrell, died unexpectedly, but peacefully, on August 27, 2023 after a long life, well lived. He was 89 years old.
Born and raised in Leechburg, PA, as a young man Mr. Glenn was a star in the band and on the basketball court. He proudly attended Yale University, graduating with an engineering degree and an Army ROTC commission. Jim started a career in engineering in Corpus Christi, TXs, but taking a job with Domino Sugar in New Orleans, LA, was the decision that set him on the path leading back to western Pennsylvania. In New Orleans, Jim met and married Texas native Jane Watson, who would remain his life companion for 62 years. His father's chronic illness brought Jim and his new wife to New Kensington in 1959, when he took over the reins of Glenn Buick. In doing so, essentially overnight Jim became the youngest automobile dealer in the United States. With the support of skilled and dedicated employees, the community, and a loyal local clientele, Jim built a thriving business and prided himself on the superior personal service that Glenn Buick offered its scores of customers over some 25 years. For decades, Mr. Glenn was one of New Kensington’s most respected civic and business leaders, serving on numerous boards of directors for organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Citizens General Hospital, Penn State’s New Kensington campus, and numerous others. In particular, with fellow stakeholders such as Bill Klingensmith, Elizabeth Blissell, Chuck Booth, Don Miller, Rod Altmeyer and Bob Huttinger, he spearheaded the Downtown Improvement Group (known as DIG), resulting in the revitalization and beautification of New Kensington’s business district. The project became something of a family affair, with Jim’s wife, Jane, overseeing the planting of street trees downtown.
In his personal life, Jim was a world-class fly fisherman, and when not on the car lot he could be found on his favorite trout stream. He loved fishing Slate Run and Pine Creek in north central Pennsylvania; major rivers in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming; and, most significantly, remote rivers on the South Island of New Zealand. He made many lifelong friends on those trips and came home with scores of entertaining stories -- which he didn’t hesitate to share with any willing ear!
Jim and Jane loved to travel, and were fortunate to make dozens of trips to Europe (Rome, with its ancient monuments and ruins, was a special favorite), as well as to Central America, where they explored remote Mayan ruins. Domestically, the wine country of California’s Napa Valley was a favorite destination.
To the end of his life, Jim remained active and vibrant, swimming at the YMCA and playing tennis several times per week. His vibrancy was tempered only by the death in 2022 of his beloved wife, Jane, his true life companion.
James T. Glenn lived an expansive, rewarding life characterized by hard work, community service, and a passion for adventure. He is survived by his sister, Sue Kates of Colorado Springs, CO; and his children, Holly (Nils Isberg) and Ben (David Freese), both residing in Virginia.