James Reid Aitken
James Reid Aitken passed away May 29, 2014. He was born July 26, 1926, to George Aitken and Margaret Reid (who immigrated from Scotland) and grew up in Ohio and Pennsylvania where he worked in the steel mills. He moved to Phoenix, Ariz., with his family in the 1940s and joined the Merchant Marines during WWII
. He then served in the Arizona National Guard before earning his degree in education from ASU where he played football (defensive end) for the Sun Devils.
He moved to Needles, Calif., in the mid-50s where he lived for the next 60 years. There, he met Dorothy Bettger and they married on May 29, 1957. The day he passed was their 57th wedding anniversary.
He welcomed her son, Gregory, and dog, Mindy, as his own, and he and Dorothy adopted two other children, Eric and Jami. They lived in several homes in the area, including the "Ranch" in Mohave Valley, the house on DeSoto for 20 years, the river property off River Road, then their present house for the past 10 years. He enjoyed riding horses, playing guitar and singing. After working as a teacher, coach and administrator in the Needles schools for over 30 years, he became a Methodist pastor and served several churches in the Needles and Mohave Valley area.
He is now with his sons, Greg and Eric, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his daughter, Jami and daughter-in-law, Beth; grandchildren, Jimmy, Michael, Lydia, Sarah and Emily; his brother, George and family in South Carolina; and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition, Coach Aitken always considered the community of Needles to be part of his family.
He was a strong and dedicated man who affected the lives of many, and will be greatly missed. Go with God, Papa. We love you very much. A celebration of his life is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at the Methodist Church on Lipan Rd. in Mohave Valley. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to dementia/Alzheimer's care or cancer research in his memory.