In Memory of




Obituary for James A. Tarnowski

James Adam Tarnowski died October 11, 2022. He was born May 7, 1940, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Adam and Irene (Freilikowski) Tarnowski. He graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1958, and earned a BS degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 1964. His service in the U.S. Air Force Reserve interrupted his college education in 1962 when his unit was deployed for the Cuban Missile Crisis.
After graduating from college, Jim moved to Midland, MI to take a job with Dow Chemical. There he met and married Betty Harry. They had two children, Thomas James and Jann Marie.
Jim’s dissatisfaction with the chemical industry’s failure to take responsibility for its production of cancer-causing chemicals led him to resign from Dow and pursue a different career path. He returned to college to become a teacher of chemistry. Jim loved his second career and dedicated himself to helping students think critically about their world.
After a transitional period of his life in Indianapolis, which included career change and divorce, Jim met Judy Berkshire. They married in 1978. In 1999, Jim and Judy moved to their farm near Camden, Indiana. Here Jim began his third major career as a farmer and woodland preservationist.
Always a risk taker and problem solver, Jim was most at home hiking in the mountains, especially the Wind River Range in Western Wyoming. He was never afraid to speak up against environmental and social injustices whenever he saw them, even if he was a lone voice of opposition.
Jim is survived by his wife Judy Berkshire of Bloomington, IN; sister Marie Gallager (Robert) of Ft. Lauderdale, FL; two children, Thomas James Tarnowski (Amie Herman) of Ithaca, NY and Jann Marie Rohlander (Stefan) of Berlin, Germany; two granddaughters, Madison and Marin; and several loving nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and sisters Gloria McCullogh and Susan Ruppert.
Jim asks that we hold no memorial service, and hopes those of you who remember him fondly will celebrate his life by taking a walk in the woods and noting the natural beauty that surrounds you. Jim and Judy request that memorials for Jim be to the Berkshire-Tarnowski Forest Preserve, care of NICHES Land Trust, Lafayette, IN or to The Land Institute, Salina, KS.