Jim Cleere

That October night in 1977, Jean Rieger, a divorced mother with a 10-year-old daughter, got down on her knees and prayed to God to send her 'a good man' to marry.

When she got up, the phone rang. On the other end was Jim Cleere, a divorced father of two sons, ages 12 and 10.

They married one year later.

Mr. Cleere, vice president of Seabury & Smith, a division of Marsh & McLennan, was in New York Sept. 11 for a meeting at the insurance brokerage firm on the 96th floor of 1 World Trade Center. Mr. Cleere, 55, was across the street at the Marriott Hotel when the first plane struck the north tower. He called his wife at their home in Newton, Iowa. They were on the phone when the second plane struck the south tower.

'He said he was O.K. and would be coming home,' said Jean Cleere. 'That was our last conversation.'

Mrs. Cleere says her husband was a man of faith. 'He had a deep, rich baritone and sang all the time,' she said, mostly the old- time hymns.

She loved that voice of his. That’s why she hasn’t changed her answering machine tape. It has Mr. Cleere’s voice on it.

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I had the chance to make friends with Jim. I remember he had an infectious smile, and laugh. A genuine, and true man that wasn't pushy about his faith. I had no interest in Christianity, and yet this man lived his faith in a way that I admired. Every year when 9/11 rolls around I am truly saddened, and remember not just where I was when it happened. I also remember when I heard that Jim was a victim. Truly the world lost a great soul. I also found my way back to faith, and it is because of people like him that were the real deal. I'll see you again, one day, sir.
Dan Wade, Friend
Sep 12 2021 3:45AM
20 years since that fateful day. I worked with you at KVI/Seabury/MMC. As the Milwaukee HCN office disaster planner, I had the privilege of having you as a teacher. I’m sure that day you were helping someone when you lost your life. You are the person I think of on this and every anniversary. RIP
Anne Kienitz, Colleague
Sep 11 2021 0:58PM
You were such a great man. Jim was the telephone man at MARSH. He NEVER judge anyone and talked to everyone. 10 years ago, I kept calling Rosie Greene, his side kick, and asking if he had been located. Saden by the outcome - why do these things happen to such wonderful people? My thoughts are going out to Jean, this day!!
Teresa Algreen, Colleague
Sep 11 2011 6:43PM
I knew Jim as a man of great skill, caring and humanity. He has lived on in our hearts and minds as an example of a good man.
Joel Kitch, Colleague
Sep 7 2011 4:11PM
Jim adored his wife and family. He was incredibly kind and supportive to his colleagues and friends. We were blessed to have known him. 'Scrutch'
Jan Scrutchfield, Friend
Sep 2 2011 1:21PM
Hello everyone ! I have never had the pleasure to meet some of you that had known and worked with my father Jim Cleere let me introduce myself. My Name is Scott, I am the Oldest of two Sons of Jim my younger brother is Jeff and some may or heard of Rhonda dads step daughter and Jean of course. I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all you do and continue to do to this day. I miss Dad very much. I you would like to contact me for anything I can be reached at scleere1@verizon.net I also have a page on Facebook or 727-528-9696 BTW Don't you all miss dad in the Dress ! I have the Video of that momentI only wish I could be there for the Tenth Anniversary but, I'm still in the process of finding work in St. Pete Fla. unemployed going on Nine Months now...
Scott Cleere, Family
Aug 30 2011 5:30PM
Jim was the voice of KVI. He lives on in our hearts and memory. He loved to sing, entertain and act. He was consummate professional and is largely responsible for our successful call center operations. People, telephony and technology were his specialties. He showed us how to be the best in all aspects of life. Thanks Jim!
Anne Bushore, Colleague
Aug 30 2011 10:36AM
God Bless Jim. We shared the same surname and we wish to do a piece on this gentleman on www.cleere.com with your permission
Neil Cleere, Colleague
Jul 14 2011 6:29AM
when jim sang at ourchurch that sunday before he left for ny i asked him if he could sing at an occasion i had coming up. he said say we visited for a minute and that was the last i saw of that good man. my heart broke for jean for a long time and all these years isee her now and then and shes always so upbeat. thank god for that. i think of you often jean and jim too. hell never die to us. betty
betty carr, Friend
May 3 2011 11:58AM
Jim was a GREAT funny (yet serious man) guy at KVI. Yes, I do remember the dress and hair. I was at a x-mas party (Larry Alberty's home) and I missed a few stairs (Maybe too many beers) and Jean and Jim were right there to help me. They are the nicest people you will ever meet. I didn't know Jim that well, but I think of him often......
Teresa Algreen, Colleague
Sep 11 2009 9:06AM
I worked for J&H;/KVI for 8 years. We so loved the Jim messages that were broadcast thoughout the company. He also participated in our anniversay celebration each year and was hilarious. I'm sure he is very much missed by his family and co-workers.
jackie, Colleague
Sep 12 2008 10:57PM
Jim, I just finished watching United 93 the film and decided to go on the internet to find other heroes and I found your memorial page. It has been 5 long rough years for the rest of us. Up there, where you are its only a blink of an eye. In a blink of your eye, all who have cared for you will soon be with you and I bet you cannot wait to see them again and put your arms around them for that long missed hug. Not a day goes by when I do not stop to think about all of you whom we have missed since that day. God bless you.
Samuel (sacramento), Friend
Sep 24 2006 1:54AM
Working for Jim was always a pleasure. He could easily captivate your imagination and soul in the stories he shared. I worked for Jim in the Telecommunications dept. and he had a way of making us feel very connected, as though we were a family. I'll never forget the note on his computer, which read, 'Choose to Feel Good.' Indisputably, he truly lived that motto each and every day. He was the heart and soul of our department and will always be remembered for how he had a way of personally touching each of our lives. Thank you, Jim, for the wonderful laughs and the unforgettable memories.
Rachael Stegall, Colleague
Sep 11 2006 4:30PM
To Jim- Thank you for being who you were and allowing so many into your life. Peace be with you and your family. Your life was beautiful and touched us all.
Laura Lundberg, Colleague
Sep 11 2006 10:30AM
I worked at KVI, Seabury & Smith, and Marsh while Jim was there. Yes, we all remember the company get togethers when Jim would announce and describe the dream vacations you could win for being Employee of the Year. We will always remember the dress. It has been 4 1/2 years since that awful day but I still remember Jim as 'the person who could make anyone laugh'. I hope his family is doing well, I know heaven is full of laughter with him there.
Denise Waters (Prusia), Colleague
May 17 2006 2:20PM
Jim Cleere will remain in our hearts forever. Please visit www.sept11MarriottSurvivors.org This website created to help survivors and families who lost loved ones to find more information about the incidents that day in the Marriott hotel. Peace
Marriott WTC Survivors Website, Friend
Aug 12 2004 3:47PM
I have a great respect for Jim. He was always very pleasant at J&H;/KVI. As I no longer work with the company I will never forget the Annual Employee Recognition Ceremonies. I think most people went just to see him. He was always razzing Bill Van Orsdel, Gary Kirke and Kirk Dorweiler as much as he could, and he was about the only one who could get away with it. (Remember him in the dress?) Jim's voice on the voice mail system was like listening to your favorite radio station. Everyone liked Jim. Jim has and will be missed greatly.
Amy Wilkinson, Colleague
Nov 20 2003 2:09PM
I did not really know Jim except as a temp working in his department. But even though my exposure to him was limited, I would have to second everything that everyone else has said about the man. In such a short time being around Jim, I noticed his cheerful demeanor and how he made the lives of those around him brighter. It is this memory that lives on and I think of him often. May God bless you and your family!
Marcus, Colleague
Sep 11 2003 6:57PM
Even though I knew Jim a short period of time, he made such a strong impression on me. Jim was a very kind-hearted and gentle man ... his presence in a room was unforgettable. He treated everyone equally and was greatly respected by his friends, colleagues and business associates. I, personally, have been impacted by his presence and am grateful and fortunate to have crossed his path in my lifetime. Thank you, Jim, for your many contributions ... you are greatly missed and fondly remembered.
Mary Brown, Colleague
Aug 26 2003 11:32AM
I worked with Jim at KVI when he reported into Larry Alberty. Many christian conversations were had and today I cherish my sons rocking chair which Jim took home one weekend and carved and stained his name into. He will be truely missed. There seemed no limit to what Jim could do!
Michelle Courtney, Colleague
Jun 25 2003 5:28PM
I worked with Jim for eleven years and had much respect for him and his knowledge of the business. He was never too busy to research a problem or just take time to visit. I enjoyed our professional relationship and will always remember Jim. He was a great co-worker and friend. He was so proud of his wife and family and frequently talked about them and their accomplishments. He was truly a wonderful family man.
Eleanor Nelson, Friend
Sep 11 2002 8:44PM
I remember seeing this giant of a man at a company(KVI)meeting in a dress having a great time. While I am no longer employed at Seabury and Smith, I still remember his sense of humor and obvious love for life. He will be missed by many for a long time to come.
David R Green, Colleague
Sep 11 2002 2:00PM
Although I did not know you well Jim, you always had a smile and a 'Good Morning' when we would pass in the halls. God has chosen you for a reason. I would like to offer my continued condolences for your family and loved ones.
Cheryl M. Merriman, Colleague
Sep 11 2002 12:30PM
I remember so many things about Jim. Hearing his voice everytime I called into the office. Seeing what he would do next to make corparate gatherings as enjoyable as only he could. I will never forget Jim walking out onto stage and looking like the Hon. Jessie Ventura! We will always miss you Jim, you brought a shine to our day, everyday.
Gene Burson, Colleague
Aug 2 2002 5:28PM
Jim and I had worked together for 14 years. He made me laugh, he made me cry, he gave me courage. We talked often about how we had both been blessed to 'love again', and I admired his relationship with Jean. I miss him everyday and will never ever forget his last words to me...'Jenny, if you have to depend on someone else for your happiness, you'll be disappointed. You must find your happiness within yourself'. Thank you my friend.
Jenny Daby, Colleague
May 3 2002 2:52PM
To my friend, colleague and leader, many thanks. It was my pleasure and honor to work for Jim 4 1/2 years at KVI, Seabury&Smith; and Marsh. His knowledge was vast and his humor plenty. He loved his family, friends and team at work. That is why his team continues to work so well. Jim, we know you are watching down upon us because we hear your voice daily. You and Jean had something very special and we are all better people for knowing you. My deepest thanks.
Pete Piscitello, Colleague
Apr 5 2002 8:39AM
Jim was a blessing to those who had the great pleasure of knowing him. He'll remain in our hearts for years to come.
Scrutch, Friend
Apr 4 2002 8:09PM
Outside of being colleagues for 16 years at Kirke Van Ordsdel, Inc. and MMC, as well as the same age, we had very little in common. However, I had the most profound respect for a man that aspired to spiritual guidance in everthing that he pursued. Even no longer in our physical presence, his sense of direction will surely remain in our lives. Thanks Jim
Gene Aspengren, Colleague
Apr 4 2002 9:03AM