Dick and Kris James

Obituary
  • "May the light of this candle bless my grandparents and help..."
    - Danielle Popa
  • "Words cannot express how our entire family will miss Dick..."
    - Teri Parsons/Brennan
  • "We will always remember, and miss, these two wonderful..."
    - Rickey and Sandie Corona

We mourn the loss of two dynamic and giving people, Dick and Kris James. They were killed in an accident on November 17, 2018 on their way to Branson, Missouri when the plane they were flying struck a power line during an emergency landing in icing conditions. The daughter of Berta and Everett Thomas, Kristine Ruth was born in 1940 in Los Angeles, California. In her earliest years, she was raised by her Uncle Arthur and Aunt Cecelia Selland in Fresno, California while her mother was hospitalized having been badly burned in a fire. A few years after she and her mother were reunited, Berta married her stepfather Walt Parker, and the family, now including two younger sisters, Patricia and Deborah, moved several times before settling in Aptos where Kris went to Watsonville High, graduating in 1957. She attended college in Fresno, living again with her aunt and uncle, where she met Dick Stevenot and married him in 1960. Her daughter Michele and son Todd soon followed. Dick's career took the family to Oklahoma, South Dakota and Hawaii, among other places, and they landed back in California in 1967. Dick James was born on December 17, 1938 and raised in Isleton, California, a small farming town in the Sacramento River Delta, with his two brothers Bill and Tim. The family farmed and grew pears in the Sacramento area and in Mexico, near Mazatl n. In 1964 as a young man looking for work, he came across a want-ad for a firm that promised to fund real estate licenses for new employees. He got himself hired, and his long, fruitful career in real estate and property management was launched. He became the top broker for multi-family properties in Sacramento and was dubbed "The Apartment Man". It was in Sacramento in the early 1980's that Kris and Dick met. They were married in 1983, the beginning of a enduring and rewarding union. Their deep love for each other helped them to face down adversity and enjoy life along the way. In 1994, they started Dick James and Associates. Headquartered in Sacramento, it flourished under their leadership and grew from a small business with a single property to one with some 250 employees and close to 100 properties under management in three states. When asked about their company, Kris and Dick would talk of their family of employees, and it was clear that they derived great satisfaction from being able to provide careers and security to them. Additionally, they were proud and pleased at the involvement of their immediate family in the running of the company, and relished being able to work as well as play together. Kris and Dick loved to travel, especially with their family and often in their own plane. Dick had been flying since he was a young man, and after they met, Kris had taken it up with his encouragement. Over the years, they flew for work and pleasure. She participated in cross country races and was an active member of the 99's. He belonged to the Sheriff's Air Squadron. Daughter Michele and grandson Andrew continue in this flying tradition. Kris loved being a mother, grandmother and great-grand-mother from sewing matching nightgowns for all her girls, big and small, to planning family getaways, to babysitting her great-grandchildren every week, her family was at the center of her life. And despite having recently retired, she was still involved with and contributing to the family business. She was a creative person and a lifelong learner who also pursued a spiritual path that gave her great satisfaction. Dick was a relentless optimist with a humble streak. He enjoyed his career as though it were his hobby, and it was not unusual to find him working away in the office on a Sunday for sheer enjoyment. He had a long association with the Rotary Club of Sacramento. And his off-hours found him on the greens at Del Paso or tinkering with his plane. Dick and Kris are survived by her two sisters and his brother as well as their two children, 9 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. Dick and Kris would wish their family and friends and business to keep flourishing and flying as the best way to celebrate their memory. Donations may be made in their honor to the Sacramento Valley 99's or Happy Tail Pet Sanctuary.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Jan. 13, 2019
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