John W. James

John W. James
February 16, 1944 – August 10, 2021

“When you die, what matters most is your relationship with your family and that you were a person of your word.” -John W. James


John W. James founded the Grief Recovery Institute over 40 years ago. He was born in Illinois and had a life filled with both joy and sadness, similar to most of our journeys. However, it was the death of his infant son in 1977 that propelled him to redefine his lifelong purpose. John was overwhelmed with grief and unable to resource any type of support to assist him in dealing with the wide range of intense emotions he was experiencing as a result of the loss of his child. Fortunately, he was able to create his own successful process for completing his grief and, as a result, the Grief Recovery Method was born.

To this day, the Institute’s mission is to deliver grief recovery assistance to the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. John continues to be internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities on grief and grief recovery. During his life, he co-authored multiple benchmark publications on the topic of recovery from loss: The Grief Recovery Handbook; When Children Grieve; Moving On; Moving Beyond Loss; and The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss. The Institute is currently associated with Affiliates in Mexico, Sweden, Australia, Hungary, and Africa.

John W. James spent his entire life helping others, most notably his family. In the end, his greatest gift to his loved ones and to others worldwide is the Grief Recovery Method.