JEFFERS, Sr., James O. 'Jim'
He Taught and Coached for
41 years despite Quadriplegia
1931 - March 22, 2014
Jim was born in Mason Oklahoma in the summer of 1931. He was called 'Sonny' by his childhood family. His parents farmed during the Dust Bowl era of Oklahoma. Jim's father died when Jim was seven years of age. His mother moved the family to Pasadena, California, after she found employment like "Rosie the Riveter" during World War II. During his stay in Pasadena, at age 12, Jim became a paper boy. He was recognized as an excellent employee and was rewarded with a trip to Hollywood where he met movie stars, Merle Oberon and Lon Chaney, Jr. His family moved around following the harvest from California to Washington and back to California. Jim consequently attended numerous schools. Jim graduated from St. Helena High School in 1950, where he was a top athlete in basketball, tennis and baseball. Jim married his wife, Phyllis Joan Paull, on September 12th, 1953. Jim and Phyllis had met while in St. Helena. Jim enlisted in the US Army and was deployed to Japan during the Korean war. After their marriage, they spent 18 months together in Kyoto, Japan. After his military service, Jim and Phyllis moved to Sacramento, California, where they raised their two children, Jim Jr. and Jill. Jim's father had been a minor league pitcher in Oklahoma. Following in his footsteps, Jim was a Sacramento Hall of Fame fast-pitch softball pitcher. He also played basketball in the March of Dimes tournaments. Jim went back to school and graduated from Sacramento State College in 1959. He became a teacher for Sacramento City Unified School District, teaching industrial arts and coaching three sports. In May of 1967, while on his way to a weekend job at Discovery Park, a driver ran a red light and hit Jim's car, leaving him a quadriplegic. After the accident and rehabilitation in Downey, Jim heroically continued teaching at Will C. Wood Jr. High School and changed his specialty to social studies. He continued to coach basketball for years. His team won the league championship four years in a row. He was proud of his students and basketball players all of his life. Jim taught school for 41 years. Jim's faith in Jesus Christ was his anchor. All who knew him felt his warmth and authentic interest in their lives. He was never depressed over his accident. He took the role of husband, father, provider and teacher very seriously. He was a family man who took great interest in his children and grandchildren. Jim and Phyllis provided opportunity for their children in roller skating. Both Jim and Jill became regional and national champions in competitive artistic roller skating. The roller skating community provided many meaningful relationships and memories for the Jeffers family. Jim had an after-school Bible Club at Will C Wood Jr. High School and a passion to share the gospel with his students and just about anyone he ever met. If you knew Jim, you would barely notice that he was a quadriplegic because of his 'go getter' style and proactive approach to life. You may have seen him driving his specialized van around the Greenhaven area and shopping at Bel Air for himself and his wife. He is preceded in death by his father, Dewey Jeffers and his mother Ratha Rogers. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Phyllis Jeffers, a son James Jeffers Jr., (Jennifer), a daughter Jill Jeffers Clark (David) and three grandchildren, John Bissell II (Joy), Allyson Jeffers and Mason Jeffers, all of Sacramento, and his sisters, OraLee Fontana of Chico and Linda Hart of Paradise, as well as many other relatives and friends.We will miss Jim terribly, but we are comforted by the knowledge that he is in heaven and no longer bound by quadriplegia. We have confidence that he will hear the words, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' The funeral service will be held at the River Cities Funeral Chapel, 910 Soule Street, West Sacramento on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at 11:00 AM, with viewing hours from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Mar. 28, 2014
River Cities Funeral Chapel
910 Soule Street West Sacramento, CA 95691