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Jimmy of Jimmy’s dies at age 86

James (“Jimmy”) Wilson, owner of Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap on 55th Street, died of heart failure February 22 at age 86.
Known for good beer, burgers, and most of all, conversation, Jimmy’s has been a part of the University community for more than 50 years. The owner was as beloved as his bar.

The late Francis Kinahan spoke for many in a 1984 citation—the “Cointreau Award”—he wrote for the Alumni Association to present to Wilson. It read in part: “The University gave us the Life of the Mind, but the man we honor tonight gave us the Life of the Spirits.…Others have educated; Jimmy has stimulated. There are people here who will swear they learned more at the Woodlawn Tap than they did in the Common Core.”

Wilson started bartending in Hyde Park at the old University Tavern in 1940. Eight years later he bought the Woodlawn Tap.

Wilson is survived by two daughters, a son, five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, a brother, and a sister.—K.S.

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