James Arndt "Jim" Calvin (1930 - 2018)

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Juneau resident James Arndt Calvin, age 87, passed away peacefully on March 20, 2018 at the Juneau Pioneer Home. He was born May 28, 1930 in Long Beach, California, to Frank T. Calvin and Gladys K. (Henrickson) Calvin.

In 1941, Jim along with his parents and brother Larry, headed north from California to Sitka, Alaska where his Uncle Jack Calvin had arrived a few years earlier. Jim's boyhood in Sitka was rich in hunting, fishing, and great outdoor adventures. As a member of the Sitka High School basketball team, he had the opportunity to travel throughout Southeast Alaska.

In 1948, Jim set off for the State College of Washington in Pullman, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Upon completion of his education he returned to Sitka. However, by then the Korean War was in full swing so Jim enlisted in the Navy. He proudly served on the USS Pictor as an Engineman 2nd Class and Petty Officer 2nd Class. The Pictor's mission was to deliver food to troops in Japan and Thailand. Jim was responsible for overseeing the refrigeration plant on the ship. During his term in the Navy he crossed the Pacific 26 times.

In 1953, Jim met Katharine Louise Mitchell while she was visiting her sister Patsy Sarvela in Sitka and they stayed in contact for several years. On April 12, 1957 Jim and Kay were married, marking the beginning of a nearly 61-year marriage. In 1958, their daughter Laura was born in Sitka and shortly after a job transfer to Ketchikan the following year their son James was born.

In 1961, Jim was appointed District Ranger in Warland, Montana, the first Alaskan ever promoted to a U.S. Forest Service District Ranger position. This was the beginning of the family's journey that came with the job Jim loved, as he served at ranger stations located throughout Montana. He made many friends in Montana but was happy to return home to Alaska, specifically Juneau, in 1969. Jim's Forest Service work ranged from forest fire fighting to forest management responsibilities and finally to the position of Director of Lands, Minerals and Watersheds, the position from which he retired in 1983.

During Jim's retirement years he and Kay traveled south frequently to visit family and friends but split most of their time between homes in Douglas and Sitka. Jim built their small Sitka home, overlooking Thimbleberry Bay, when he was a young man and it remained one of his favorite places throughout his life. He also especially enjoyed sharing time with family and friends on his boat, the Urchin, which had been handed down to him from his father. Jim, Kay, and friends had some great fishing and cruising adventures aboard the Urchin.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents and numerous family pets he and Kay loved over the years. He is survived by his wife Katharine (Kay), son James Steven Calvin and his wife Terri, daughter Laura Beason, his grandchildren Katelyn Calvin, Jacob Calvin, Ryan Beason and his wife Lauren, his great-granddaughters, identical twins Claire and Elise Beason, and his brother Larry Calvin and his family. Also surviving Jim are many wonderful friends including his especially dear friends Ron and Mary Ann Wood.

Jim moved to the Juneau Pioneer Home in December 2016. The Calvin family is deeply grateful for the loving, compassionate care Jim received from his Pioneer Home family.

Interment and a celebration of life are being planned for this summer in Juneau.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Mar. 28 to Apr. 27, 2018
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