James A. Wick, V.P. emeritus, Merrill Lynch. Born May 2, 1934 to a prominent banking and steel family in Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up in Shaker Heights, the youngest of seven children. Died January 16, 2014 in Scottsdale, AZ from complications of Parkinsons after hip trauma surgery.
Wick, Scotland was named for his ancestors who came to this country in the 1600’s. Great grandfather Lemuel Wick founded National City Bank (today Citibank) in Cleveland in 1845, and was its first president. Grandfather Henry Wick founded Wick Banking & Trust Co., and Wick Investment Co., Cleveland. He was one of the original families who lived on Euclid Avenue. Family also included George D. Wick who perished on the Titanic. He helped build Youngstown and started Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. which became Republic Iron Works later Republic Steel. James, known as Jim, attended Malvern and University School in Cleveland, then graduated from Judson School, a private prep school in Scottsdale, AZ that his eldest brother, Henry, had acquired a few years before. The school was later made coed and became the largest private boarding school in the Southwest. While at Judson, Jim’s natural athletic abilities flourished. He became Arizona’s Champion in tennis, both singles and doubles, at age 18. He was self effacing and known for his quick wit and sense of humor. He enjoyed polo and golf as well, but nothing was more fun than playing in father-son tennis tournaments with his own son, and cheering on his daughter at hunter-jumper equestrian events on her quarter horse. Breaking tradition from a long line of Yale grads, Jim chose to go west to Stanford after graduating from Judson, transferring later to the University of Arizona where he met his wife, Maxine. He received a degree in Business Administration and Finance. He accredited Del Webb as a mentor who personally trained college grads in every phase of business from construction (the first Sun City was built at that time in Phoenix), to the hotel business. Jim was hired away from Webb by a land owner to develop a 10-acre parcel at 24th Street and Camelback Rd. After working a year with Webb’s architects and the city of Phoenix, Jim secured signed leases to fill a medical as well as other office buildings with prestigious firms such as the regional headquarters of Merrill Lynch to come from California. When the city denied the height and density of the project, the land owner put the project on hold, saying “Phoenix isn’t ready for this.” Twenty five years later, the owner’s widow brought Fife Symington on board who built on the site what is known today as the Esplanade. Merrill Lynch invited Jim to join them when the project was postponed. He worked with Merrill for the next 38 years until retiring in 2006. While at Merrill, Jim lobbied for the company to open their first office in Scottsdale. They did so, on Camelback Rd, later moving to N. Scottsdale Rd. to larger quarters. The Merrill Lynch regional office stands today at the Esplanade. Jim and his wife supported numerous charities over the years including The Phoenix Symphony, The Zoo, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Jim was also active in Sertoma. They met adversity with equanimity, and were always available where there was the greatest need. He is survived by his wife, Maxine, daughter, Tamara, of NYC, and son, James, of Los Angeles, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by five brothers, Henry, Bob, Doug, Dave, Bill, and sister, Virginia. Four brothers served in WWII at the same time. All survived and two were honored with purple hearts for their service and injuries. A memorial service will be held February 13th at 2:00 pm at Christ Church of the Ascension Episcopal Church, 4015 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253. If it is your wish donations may be made in his name to the Muhammed Ali Parkinsons Center, Barrows Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital, 240 W. Thomas Rd., Suite 301, Phoenix, AZ 85013.
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