James V. Kimsey was a native Washingtonian. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, and studied at Georgetown University on an honors scholarship. He served three combat tours as an airborne ranger, two in Vietnam, earning various awards for service and valor. In July 2005, Mr. Kimsey was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame, which recognizes our nation’s most extraordinary Rangers. In 2008, Mr. Kimsey received the Distinguished Graduate Award for Outstanding Service to the Nation from the US Military Academy at West Point.
Mr. Kimsey was best known for creating the largest company ever started in the Washington, DC area – America Online, Inc. He served as Chairman Emeritus prior to his death. Mr. Kimsey left AOL to focus his energies on philanthropy, and in 1996, he launched the Kimsey Foundation which provides grants that benefit the Washington, DC community in areas from arts to education.
Over the years, Mr. Kimsey had received numerous entrepreneurship awards. He received Presidential appointments to the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees and the West Point Board of Visitors. In 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell named Mr. Kimsey as Chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), an organization dedicated to identifying hundreds of thousands of missing from conflicts and natural disasters around the world, through DNA research. Mr. Kimsey also served as Chairman Emeritus of Refugees International, an independent advocacy group which works to protect refugees and end the cause of displacement. He also served as a member of the board of the International Crisis Group, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Business Executives for National Security, and as a Senior Fellow to the Department of Defense Business Board. He served on the Executive Committee of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Kimsey passed away in 2016 and is interred in the West Point Cemetery. He is survived by three sons and four grandchildren.