In memorial: Officer James Lister
ASU lost a dedicated public servant when Officer James Lister died of an apparent heart attack while on duty at the Tempe campus Dec. 16.
“Officer Lister was a highly valued officer who worked for the Phoenix Police Department and came to ASU after he retired from Phoenix. He will be deeply missed by his fellow officers and by those whose lives he touched,” said ASU Police Chief John Pickens.
Lister, 54, spent the majority of his police career at the Phoenix Police Department before coming to ASU to join the university’s police force where he worked as a patrol officer at the Tempe campus. Lister began his career with the Arizona State University Police Department on April 26, 2010.
“We’re grateful for James Lister’s service to the university as a police officer at the Tempe campus. He devoted his life to protecting the public, first for the Phoenix Police Department, where he served for more than 30 years, and then at ASU. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Officer Lister’s family, friends and fellow officers,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.
During his short tenure with the ASU Police Department, he quickly adapted to the university environment and established relationships within the community while displaying a high degree of professionalism and a strong work ethic. A supervisor commented that Lister was “an informal leader and much is expected of him.”
ASU Police Department Officer Stan Barzar worked with Lister for about 10 years on a stolen-vehicle task force when Barzar worked for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. He remembers Lister, whose nickname was “Dutch,” as a friend and colleague who was always generous with his time and helped fellow officers keep their work in perspective.
“He was a straight shooter. He would tell you like it is and would have a way of making you look at things differently,” Barzar said. “He’d give you the shirt off his back and he treated people with the utmost respect.”
Before retiring from Phoenix in July of 2008, Lister worked as a firearms instructor and earned several unit citations as a member of the Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force. After his retirement he continued to serve the City of Phoenix as a reserve police officer.
Lister was a natural leader who “wasn’t afraid of any type of challenge,” Barzar said. ASU offered him the chance to make a difference in young people’s lives and help them make positive changes.
“He was always able to say, ‘You’re going down the wrong road. Let me catch you before you go down it,’” Barzar said. “He loved being at ASU because it was a good environment for him. He taught young people about life and following the laws of Arizona. He also nurtured young officers.”
Lister enjoyed his job where he worked hard but also found time to share a laugh with fellow officers. “He would just make you laugh and smile,” Barzar said.
A memorial service for Lister will be held at 1 p.m., Dec.27, in the La Sala Ballroom at ASU’s West campus. Officer Lister’s family asks that donations go to the 100 Club of Arizona on behalf of the Lister Family. Donations can be made at http://100club.org/support-donate/make-a-donation.