Senior Scene

Senior Profile:  James Linck

                               Ted Wills


  Those who frequent the Dining Room at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center and who participate in, or at least listen to, the conversations at their table are well aware that many of their senior contemporaries, drawing on a wealth of personal experience, have fascinating stories to tell.  One of the most interesting and unusual of these stories is that of James Linck. 

  James Linck was born in New Orleans in 1942, but grew up in New York on Long Island where his mother moved shortly after he was born.  By the time he reached school age Jim had developed an intense interest in drawing.  His earliest drawings were of animals, especially dogs.  From there he took to drawing everything with special attention to “cars, girls, planes, girls and girls”.  Jim’s early artistic interest was fortunately matched by a native artistic talent.  He has, over the years, shown many of his drawings at art exhibits; more than a few have been sold.


  If Art was Jim’s earliest passion, Science followed closely on its heels.  The subject fascinated him from the day he took his first Science course in Elementary school.  Before long his mind was filled with ideas for inventions.  One of his earliest ideas was that of a multi lensed telescope.  When he mentioned the idea at the time, the reaction was uniformly negative.  “If that would work it would have been done before.”  “People much smarter than you have already thought of that.”  Rather than being deterred by such responses, Jim has spent his entire life looking for ways to turn impossible dreams into concrete realities.


  In 1960 Jim returned to Louisiana to attend Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge.  His College Career was interrupted in 1963 when he was drafted into the Army and sent to serve in Vietnam.  His term of service lasted two years during which time he was trained as a draftsman.  His mastery of a skilled trade, combined with his knowledge of Physics gave him the tools to translate his inventive dreams and visions into concretely designed projects.


Upon completion of his tour of duty in Vietnam Jim returned to Louisiana where he spent the next four years working at a variety of jobs on riverboats and push boats in the Gulf Coast area.  In 1969 he moved to California where his Engineer Designer skills enabled him to find work in the defense industry on cold war era projects organized to design various weapons systems.  The systems Jim helped to design included stealth bombers, cruise missiles and harpoon missiles.  The average duration of a project was six months to a year.  The interval between projects could be substantial, so could the financial rewards.  Jim now had both the capital and the time he needed to pursue his inventive dreams.  During the thirty eight years Jim worked in the defense industry, 1969-2007, he invested both time and money in a variety of inventive projects ranging from cars and bicycles to houses.


  Busy as Jim was with his many undertakings, he was and is no workaholic. In the intervals between his defense industry projects, Jim would take at least six months off.  Much of this was devoted to traveling.  He has, in the course of his life, taken twenty two cross country trips, four of them to Florida.  His usual mode of transport is a travel camper equipped with shower and eating facilities.


  Jim’s most recent invention is a Carbon Composite Crankshaft for piston engines. The patent was issued late in 2017 and Jim is optimistic about the sale of the patent and the marketing of the project.  While the prospect of a good financial return, along with the possibility of further travel and adventure, doubtlessly figures in his calculations, Jim also has something larger and more serious on his mind.  Alongside his inventive and artistic passions, Jim has always had a passion for improving the human condition.  In recent years this passion has taken on a very concrete focus.  Since moving into the Westminster Manor Senior Complex near downtown San Diego, Jim has been visibly exposed to the reality of San Diego’s expanding homeless population.  This exposure has caught his attention and his concern.  Jim’s concern has been deepened by the friendship he has formed with his Westminster Manor neighbor, Fred Davis, a tireless advocate for the homeless.  Now in his seventy sixth year and hoping to leave this world a better place than he found it, James Linck has pledged that should his latest invention be successfully produced and marketed, he will donate a significant portion of the financial return to Fred Davis’s efforts to alleviate the condition of San Diego’s homeless.


   In his seventy six years James Linck has attempted much, experienced much and accomplished much.  If his present venture is successful it could be the greatest accomplishment of his life.