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James Monroe Tharp

1934 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
James Monroe Tharp Obituary
James Monroe Tharp 84, a long-time resident of Silver Strand Beach, California passed away May 24th, 2018 in Massachusetts.

Born June 26th, 1934 in Oklahoma to Monroe and Christine Tharp, Jim (Jimbo to all that knew him) led a full life. In 1941 his family relocated to Silver Strand Beach where he lived for the next 5 decades, becoming the unofficial Mayor of the beach and friend to all. A life-long sportsman, Jim was a member of the Oxnard High (class of 1952) football team, followed by a golden gloves boxing career. From there it was marathons, beach volleyball, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, golfing and fishing. It is hard to name a sport that Jim didn't love and wasn't proficient at.

Jimbo served in the Marine Corp (PFC) and was a veteran of the Korean War, where he was wounded in action while clearing a mine and was awarded a Purple Heart. Though military doctors told him he may never walk again, through sheer determination (stubbornness) he managed to not only walk, but live a very active life which he shared with those around him. He embraced every person and place he came in contact with. While living in California he became an avid spear fisherman, loved body surfing and deep sea fishing, and even tried his hand at stand-up paddle boarding much later in life.

Throughout his life he held many jobs ranging from picking crops in the Central Valley to working at the Camarillo State Hospital, but the most well known was the 20 years he spent owning and running the Rudder Room Bar in Hollywood Beach, CA. Here he did more than just serve up drinks, he was a father/brother figure to many, and took his RR family on field trips to football games and sporting events, sponsored volleyball tournaments, all the while regaling anyone who would listen with his stories (which were legendary, just like the man telling them).

After retiring, Jim first moved to Montana where he embraced the rural lifestyle and became a proficient backcountry homesteader. Felling trees, building fences, raising animals, fishing, hunting and skiing. He then moved to New Mexico where he joined the Lincoln County Sherrif's Posse and helped cut trails and lead the annual trail ride that followed the escape route of Billy the Kid. While in NM he found great joy in his work teaching skiing to the disabled at Apache Ski Resort. In the last decade he lived for a brief time in Georgia, fishing and golfing, before moving back to California (Santa Margarita) to be closer to his four sons. Jimbo loved living and did it in a big way, he was kind and made everyone he met feel like his buddy.

Jimbo's love of life extended to romance as well. Married 4 times in his 84 years, his last 3 decades were spent with his wife Nancy who shared in his many adventures (and moves).

Preceding him in death are his parents Monroe & Christine, brother William Edward, and son Samuel James.

James is survived by his wife Nancy, sisters Patty Louise and Jo Ann Cannon, sons Michael Patrick, James Monroe Jr., Nicholas James, granddaughter Grace Lee, and dog Molly.

A memorial will be held July 28th, 2018 at 1:00PM at the Rudder Room, Hollywood Beach, CA. Please join us to raise a glass to our best buddy.

In lieu of flowers or gifts donations can be made to the Ski Apache Adaptive Ski Program ( which is the disabled program Jim volunteered for, or the Hearts Therapeutic Riding Center ( a program that uses equine therapy to help disabled children and veterans.

In the words of The Highwaymen (Jim loved country music), "May the road go on forever and may the party never end".
Published in Ruidoso News on July 11, 2018
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