Jim Winsor, a veteran trucking industry journalist and former executive editor of Heavy Duty Trucking, passed away Tuesday night from natural causes.
Winsor, who was 82, lived in a retirement home in Bryn Mawr, Pa., He retired from truck writing after suffering a sudden onset of Guillain–Barré syndrome, a debilitating neurological disorder, about 10 years ago.
He is survived by his wife, Donna, and their two children and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in six to eight weeks.
Winsor had a rich background in truck equipment and was a licensed heavy truck driver. He was a member of numerous trucking industry organizations and committees. He was a frequent speaker at trucking events and frequently was quoted in mainstream media articles about trucking.
He was active in the Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations, and received its Silver Spark Plug award in 1985 and a leadership award in 2006. The Truck Writers of North America honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
“In his last days Jim was very alert and still sharp with his memory, especially about TMC and all his friends,” said Darry Stuart, a fleet manager and former TMC general chairman for whom Winsor was a mentor. “He was a big part of my life.”
At one time Jim and Donna were avid horse riders and he served as an officer in two equestrian groups. He was also an active supporter in youth organizations.
Winsor’s trucking experience began as a part-time driver while he attended the University of Pennsylvania. He delivered steel pipe to work sites in order to earn gas money to visit Donna in West Virginia. He and Donna were married just after Jim graduated in June 1955.
He served as a lieutenant and truck platoon leader in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps in West Germany, and after his discharge in 1957, he went to work for Commercial Car Journal, then a Chilton Publishing magazine. He eventually became editor in chief.
Tom Berg, currently senior editor for HDT, worked for Winsor at CCJ in 1973, and recalls the way he announced that a rewrite of an article was needed: “Run it through your typewriter again,” he would say.
Winsor joined HDT, then published by Newport Communications, as executive editor in 1983. "Jim was with HDT/Newport for over 20 years and contributed greatly to our editorial products," recalled Doug Condra, who was HDT's editor in chief in that period.
Through his career as a journalist, he earned 12 Jesse H. Neal honors for editorial excellence, including a Grand Neal Award and the G.D. Crain Award for journalistic excellence. Both are given by American Business Media, an association of business information providers.
John Baxter, another longtime trucking editor, said, "Jim was one of a devoted minority of magazine writers who truly understood the technology and loved it, as well as the challenge of driving trucks. He was a truly great asset to our industry and he’ll be sorely missed."
Looking back at his 50-plus years in the trucking industry upon his retirement, Winsor commented, "If I had it to do over again, I'd do it over again."
This article was updated on April 9, 2015.