JAMES LEWIS DEARBORN
November 5, 1932 ~ April 25, 2016
"A quiet patient man who loved his family."
James "Jim" Lewis Dearborn died the afternoon of Monday, April 25, 2016. He was 83 years old and died from Parkinson's disease. Jim was at home surrounded by his loving family when he left for his forever home with Jesus. Jim was born November 5, 1932 in Park Rapids, Minnesota to Truman and Helen Dearborn. Jim had an adventurous childhood living in a log cabin with his older brother's George and Dan and younger sister, Jewel. At a young age the boys learned to shoot guns and would go hunting. They also spent time at a nearby lake swimming and fishing.
Jim was a hard worker all his life. His strong work ethic began in childhood watching his dad and learning skills from him like woodworking. At the age of 18 he followed George and joined the Navy. Jim served as a diesel mechanic aboard the US Skagit for four years during the Korean War and was honorably discharged the 25th of August 1954. It was through George, that he met his future wife, Dolores Jenner. Jim would hitchhike from San Diego, California to Vancouver, Washington to see Dolores briefly and then hitchhike back! They were married on October 17, 1953. A few months before the birth of their first child they bought their current home where they lived the next 60 years of their 62 year marriage.
After the Navy Jim began working for Blair's Woodworking, a custom cabinet shop in Portland, Oregon. He retired from that job after 48 years. He began as a cabinet maker, but soon learned all aspects of the business that specialized in custom cabinets, windows, moldings, and doors. He completed an apprentice program where he learned drafting and advanced to become the main bidder for jobs. His blueprints were like works of art worthy of framing. Among many projects, Blair's built the cabinetry at Sayler's Old Country Kitchen in Portland, Oregon, and did a lot of work for Portland State College. In 1980 Jim and Dolores bought Blair's Woodworking and worked together until 2001 when they sold the company and retired.
Jim's building skills were put to good use outside the shop building for others. He built kitchen cabinets, bookcases and fireplace mantels. Shortly after his third child was born, Jim built two bedrooms on to their home. He remodeled the kitchen with new custom cabinets and then in 1976 he added a family and dining room. Over several years he dug out the basement and built a bathroom, rec room, and his workshop. He also made furniture including a desk for his daughter Debra, a roll top desk for his oldest son Rodney, and a four poster bed for his youngest son Steven. One of the last pieces of furniture he made was a cherry wood cradle for his great-granddaughter, Grace. Jim's last big home project was building a barn-like shed in their park-like backyard. That was six years ago; a few years later the Parkinson's and dementia took away his abilities and talents.
Jim was always available to help others. As a member of the First United Methodist church for 62 years, he served on many committees. He was a greeter with his wife, and did repairs for the church. Jim spent many hours with his children and their various interests. He helped with science projects for school, helped his daughter earn Girl Scout badges and both his sons were in Boy Scouts and became Eagle Scouts. For ten springs and summers the family lived at the David Douglas baseball park as Jim was a coach and manager of his son's teams. Jim also loved hunting with his sons and fishing with his children. Early in his marriage he built a row boat that the family enjoyed, with Mahoney interior and red and white exterior. Jim and his family enjoyed camping and usually went to the Oregon Coast.
After selling the business Jim and Dolores spent their retirement traveling. Their first trip was delayed when their youngest son, Steve, died suddenly in May of 2002. After the initial shock of this loss they realized Steve would want them to follow their dream. Jim and Dolores bought a 16 foot trailer and traveled through 12 states and went on two different cruises to Alaska. For their 50th anniversary they went on an eighteen day cruise through the Panama Canal. For their 60th anniversary, just two and a half years ago, they toured Hawaii and saw the Missouri and Pearl Harbor.
Jim was a quiet patient man who loved his family. He expressed his love with his actions as he was always lending a helping hand. He helped raise his daughter's two children after her divorce. Today, his grandson, Jason, says, "He is the blueprint I follow to try to be the best man/husband/father I can be." Jennifer, his granddaughter said, "Our family lost an amazing man today. My grandpa was kind, caring, and patient. There's nothing he wouldn't do for his familyâ€¦we were very blessed to have him in our livesâ€¦" Jim had a deep wisdom, he was honest, yet a big tease, always giving of his time and talents, and very humble. Jim was a reserved but very likeable person, perhaps because he was accepting and non-judgmental. He was loved by all who knew him.
Jim had four grandchildren: Amy Kramm (husband Paul), Jason Tiede (wife Korie), Jennifer Holbrook, and Trevor Dearborn; and five great-grandchildren, Grace Holbrook, Lyla Holbrook, Sophia Tiede, Kayla Dealy, and Tyler Kramm. Jim enjoyed spending time playing and being silly with his great-grandchildren.
Jim is survived by his wife, Dolores Jenner Dearborn; daughter, Debra Dearborn Tiede; son, Rodney Dearborn (wife Mary Hicks Dearborn); and brother, Dan Dearborn. Jim was preceded in death by his sister, Dottie Lou; son, Steven Dearborn; sister, Jewel Dearborn Ramsey; and brother, George Dearborn.
A Memorial Service celebrating the life of Jim Dearborn will be held on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 3 P.M. at Evergreen Memorial Gardens, 1101 NE 112th Ave, Vancouver, WA 98684.
Donations in memory of Jim may be made to the Parkinson's Foundation or Wounded Warriors.
Please sign his guest book at: www.columbian.com/obits