Dewey James(1930 - 2012)

Dewey K James

March 29, 1930 - November 4, 2012

DEER ISLAND - Dewey gave his last hug on November 4th at his home in Deer Island, surrounded by his children. He was eighty-two years old.

Dewey Klyce James was born March 29th, 1930, to George Dewey and Cora Ellen (Williams) James. As a child he could be found running barefoot on the banks of the Mississippi River, helping his uncles on the farm, or exploring new and imaginative forms of mischief. His parents divorced when he was a young teen and he moved to Independence, OR, with his father. It was there that he caught the eye of a spirited young lass, Shirley Klassen. They were married on May 4th, 1951. Dewey served in the army as a sergeant and was deployed to Korea. Upon his return he pursued his dream of teaching, receiving his Bachelor's Degree in Education from Oregon College of Education (Western Oregon University) in 1957. He would go on to earn his Master's Degree (OCE) in 1965 and his Certificate of Administration (University of Oregon) in 1970. Dewey held teaching positions in Grand Ronde, Ore., and Roseburg, Ore., before finally settling in Knappa, OR, as the principal of Hilda Lahti Elementary School in 1966. In 1973 he transferred to Clatskanie as the principal of Clatskanie Elementary School where he remained until his retirement in 1990. In October of 2011, Dewey was diagnosed with ocular lymphoma (cancer of the eye). In May of 2012, it was also found in his brain. He is survived by his sister, Robirda (Rich) Lee of Salem, OR, stepmother, Ione James of Salem, brother in-law Deward Little of Benton Harbor, MI, close friends Shirley and Joe Garcia of Salem, his four children, Ron (Cindy) James of Clatskanie, OR, Lauren (Janelle) James of Bellfountain, OR, Julie (Darrell) Hooper of Longview, WA, and Linda (Ron) Hazell-McEachern of Aloha, OR, his eight grandchildren, Michael and David (Jonna) Hooper, Cory James, Sarah (Ben) Genetiano, Matthew and Seth James, and Dana and Joseph Hazell, great-grandchildren, Milena Hooper, Leahmya and Brennah Genetiano, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister, Syldiah Little of Benton Harbor, MI.

Dewey's passions were family and friends. His life centered around relationships. He was a smile and warm embrace on the school steps. Should you find yourself seated in the "Principal's office", he was the sympathetic eyes that belied the stern expression and ominous cricket bat-paddle behind him on the wall. We will never fill the void he left but his love and compassion will live on in the many lives he touched.

Please join us in celebrating Dewey's life at Clatskanie Middle-High School on December 15th at 11:00 AM. A potluck luncheon will follow.

Donations may be made on his behalf to the Dewey James Knappa/Clatskanie Scholarship Fund, Wauna Federal Credit Union.


Published in StatesmanJournal from Dec. 8 to Dec. 13, 2012