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Glen Richard James – December 2019

Friday, December 20th, 2019


Glen Richard James

Glen Richard James was a Great Depression baby born to Thomas Alex James and Gladys Ruby (Duncan) on 28 October 1935 in Ft. Cobb, Oklahoma.  He was their third child out of an eventual seven children in all.  Grandpa James was a jack of all trades man which involved a lot of moving around wherever jobs could be found in those difficult days.  Grandpa James’ jobs were rural settings, and Glen grew up on the farmlands of eastern Oklahoma most of his early life; even lived a boxcar for a time.

As a junior in high school Glen landed a college scholarship for football, but his senior year in 1953, found a life change that was not in his control.  His dad moved out to Tehachapi, California to take a welding job in a small camp called Monolith where a large limestone deposit was mined for cement. It was a bitter disappoint for Glen to have to move so far and for the last year of high school, forfeiting the scholarship.  But not long after being in his new surroundings, a lithe, brown-eyed brunette freshman named Carolyn Gooding, caught his eye and salved his heart.  They took a hankering to each other and were married on 7 June 1957, a union that lasted over six decades until his death.

Glen learned the trade of barbering with his older brother, Kenneth.  His young bride, Sue, worked for the post office until their first child, Kevin, came along in April of 1959.  Their son was followed by three more babies in quick succession: Brian (Dec. 1960), Les (May 1962), and, finally, Brenda (October 1963).  Not long after Kevin was born, the young James family moved north; first to Woodland, California for a short stint, and then settling in Chico, California for several years.  Glen had a successful barbering business, even buying a shop with four chairs, but in the interest of benefits and getting a college fund going, he signed on with the California Department of Corrections. His first assignment brought him and the family back down to Tehachapi, California for a little over three years.

Glen was an avid sportsman.  He liked his baseball and football.  While in Chico he was part of softball teams as well as bowling, garnering a few trophies along the way.  He also enjoyed hunting and fishing, past times he used to spend time with his growing children when he could get days off from work.  It instilled a great love for the outdoors in all four of the children.  It was this love for outdoor recreation that Glen took his second assignment at the High Desert Correctional Facility where he eventually retired.  Bored with retirement he took up barbering again, ending up having a business partnership with Brenda for a few years.

Glen was also a man of faith. He and Sue raised the family as Baptists leading all four children to Jesus as youngsters. He taught and modeled honesty, hard work, and being a law-abiding citizen. He dedicated himself to making a good life for his family which never had to face a day without food or shelter. He was a strong, steady presence in the family’s life.

This faith was manifest in a terrible boating accident of the Oregon coast. During a sudden gale, drifting with a waved washed, stalled engine, the watercraft capsized trapping him in its hull with seeming no way out. As he came to the ultimate extent of holding his breath his last thoughts were of his family.  As he exhaled, he committed all five of them into God’s hands, and in a miracle, his next breath was fresh air. Dazed, wet and exhausted, he made it to shore, and then crawled over a mile through grassy windswept and wet dunes until park rangers found him.

Glen was proceeded in death by his parents and two siblings.  He is survived by his wife, Sue, his four children and their spouses: Kevin and Michelle; Brian and Sandy; Les and Mary, and Brenda and Phil (Unterriener). Ten grand-children and four great-grand-children, with another one on the way.

Glen will be greatly missed but he has left his indelible imprint forever on the family.


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