In Memory

James Parker "Jim" Topp - Class Of 1953

James Parker Jim Topp

James Jim Parker Topp, 72, May 31, 2008, in the John F. Keever Solace Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Jim was born June 2, 1935, in Pasadena, California. to the late Howard A. Topp, an architect, and Margaret J. Parker Topp. He grew up in San Marino, California in the family home designed by his father. He graduated in 1953 from South Pasadena-San Marino High School. In 1960 he received a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from San Jose State and was a retired registered professional industrial engineer with the State of California at the time of his death.

In December, 1957 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After basic training he worked for Douglas Aircraft Company, which was assigned to a critical defense project. Over the next three years he completed Extension Courses with the U.S. Army Ordnance and Artillery and Missile School. In 1958, he married Barbara Harrison, also of San Marino, California. Over his working career Jim had a variety of jobs. He utilized his skills with Rockwell International, School Research and Service Corp and the Synod of Southern California of the United Presbyterian Church (UPC), UPC NYC Headquarters, Motorola, Burroughs, and Fujitsu. After retiring in 1987, he became a private trader in the U.S. stock market. Jim was an ordained elder of the Presbyterian Church and actively served on sessions in California, New York, Connecticut and North Carolina. While living in Connecticut, he served as a delegate to the General Assembly. He was a firm believer in the importance of stewardship and gave generously of his time and treasure throughout his adult life.

In 1985, Jim married Paula Jean Grillot in Brookfield Center, Connecticut. They moved to Asheville in 1988. In 1992, he received a Master of Liberal Arts from UNC Asheville (UNCA). During this time he and Paula started their life-long commitment to helping individual Russians adapt to a market economy. For several years he served as Treasurer for Asheville Sister Cities. In 1998 he joined the Asheville Symphony Board of Directors, served as president (2003-2004) and retired as past-president in 2005. He was an active supporter of various UNCA scholarship and endowment funds.

He is survived by his wife, Paula Grillot; three daughters, Margot Topp, of Mountain View, California, Krista Topp, of Endicott, New York and Gretchen Peel, of Covina, California; a brother, Howard Topp and his wife, Helen, of San Marino; a brother-in-law, Michael Grillot, of Springfield, Virginia; two granddaughters, Julia and Darolyn Topp, both of Mountain View; four nephews and two nieces. 

Asheville Citizen Times, June 15, 2008