Dr. D.J. McCabe
April 29, 1927 — November 24, 2020
Jim McCabe was born Darrell James McCabe in Mondamin, Iowa to David and Daisy (Pippitt) McCabe on April 29, 1927. At a very early age he realized he was not bound to the life he’d inherited, and his instinctive curiosity led Jim on a remarkable journey that ended with his passing in Lincoln, Nebraska of natural causes on November 24 at the age of 93.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II and served in the occupying force in Belgium and Germany, where he parlayed his GI rations into gifts for refugee children. Jim returned to the States and enlisted the GI Bill to become the first in his family to attend college. Alphabetical order sat Jim McCabe next to Marla Marx at a freshman survey class at the University of Nebraska, and they went on to be married for 66 years.
The Marx’s helped Jim pursue a degree and career in dentistry. As he prepared to raise a family, Jim decided he needed the reliability of a paycheck and left private practice to become a professor of dentistry at UNL’s Dental College. He would later confess he had no idea what he was doing the first day he stood before a class, but it turned out teaching was his natural calling. He would teach his dental students about more than dentistry, and went on to become both a student and teacher of many subjects. Dr. McCabe became legendary for his class Alternative Ways of Feeling Better offered through UNL’s innovative Centennial College in the late 1970s. He continued practicing dentistry as the on-staff dentist at the Whitehall Home for Children for 30+ years, and led a staff of volunteer dentists serving the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska. In his spare time he was a freelance interior designer for Eno’s Upholstery for 30 years.
Curiosity and creative thinking also made Jim a shrewd businessman. Having discovered expensive German comfort sandals on a trip to California, Jim opened Lincoln’s Footloose & Fancy in 1975, and with Marla’s devoted salesmanship it became one of the most successful Birkenstock retailers in the country. Noticing the college town lacked a legitimate coffee house, he opened the much beloved “The Coffee House” on P Street in 1987. He showed a similar sense of foresight and opportunity when playing the stock market.
Jim was a lifelong traveler, who fell in love with the mountains as a ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park, and celebrated his 50th birthday with a solo trek across India. He was also an avid and adventurous chef, who could talk about food for hours.
Known variously as Jim, DJ, Doctor McCabe or Pop, he will be remembered by many simply for fascinating conversations and loud laughter going late into the night, often at the family’s cherished lake house at South Bend.
He is survived by his wife Marla, sons Jeff and Casey (Mary Widdifield), grandchildren Olivia and Henry McCabe, cousins Janice Callahan and Nick Bean, and dog Mimi. The family asks that his memory be honored by sharing Jim’s curiosity, kindness, generosity and integrity, and that any memorial be sent as a donation to the Lincoln Humane Society.
The family would like to thank the staff at The Monarch House hospice for their kindness and professionalism.
Celebration of life to be held at a later date.
To leave a condolence please use the form below.
Funeral Home assisting is Aspen Mortuary, 4822 Cleveland Avenue, Lincoln, NE 68504. To view an on-line obituary or email condolences please visit Aspen Mortuary’s website at www.aspenaftercare.com.
Condolences for Dr. D.J. McCabe
How proud you will always be of Jim as he lived life to the fullest! He not only accomplished so much but he gave back to so many others. He made the world a better place! When we met your dad at the lake, we immediately recognized he was “special” not only because of his intellect, but his love of life and his wit. Every time we will “float” by the lake house, we will think of him and feel lucky we knew him! We hope you find comfort in knowing how many people respected, admired and enjoyed Jim. He has left many memories for all of us. God bless.
Thinking of all of you during this time of transition. Asking that all of you may know peace.
Dear MarIa, I have fond memories of playing Bridge with you and Jim. Jim was an important friend in our live’s spiritual journey. My Jim left the physical on his birthday in 2012 and I know they are both sending us love from above. Sending you blessings from Colorado. Janet Lee Meisinger
I knew Jim from PLC. We played bridge there for years. I’m sorry that he’s gone. We had a lot of good times
Playing cards and sampling chocolate. I was also invited to play cards at his home in South Bend. Those were
The good times. Jack Olig
i loved the man. Paul Olson
I am saddened to hear of Jim’s death and wanted to send my condolences to you. I enjoyed meeting you and Jim when I interviewed Jim for the Centennial reunion last year. May you find comfort during this time. A fellow Centennialite,
What a great, compassionate, funny, generous, and insightful man he was! It was my great privilege to know him for the decade from the ’70’s through the mid ’80’s when he and Marla, as well as jeff and casey, so graciously opened their home and their hearts to me during my nearly monthly visits to Lincoln. I will carry warm and humorous memories of them both for the rest of my life. Condolences to friends and family for your loss.
Dear Marla, I am so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. What a wonderful, full life. I only wish that I could have met him. I think of you often and send my love. Kate Moon