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James Ronald Warren

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James Ronald Warren Obituary
James Ronald Warren

Dr. James Ronald Warren (Jim), longtime Washington resident, historian and author, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday September 13th. Jim was born in Goldendale WA in 1925, the grandson of a pioneer merchant and state senator; in 1940 he moved with his mother and 3 siblings to Wishram where he attended high school. Upon graduation in 1943 Jim joined the army and was sent to Europe, where he was captured by the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge. After spending months in a German POW camp, by November 1945 Jim was discharged, home, and not yet 21 years old. He went to WSU on the GI bill, exited as one of the top 10 outstanding graduates in 1949, and married a fellow graduate named Gwen Davis; they were married 63 years at the time of Jim's death. After college Jim worked in Seattle radio and as a college instructor for 14 years while earning his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Washington. He was hired by the Seattle Schools in the PR department, and worked on the expansion of the Seattle community college system before becoming the first president of Edmonds Community College. In 1979 Jim became director of the Museum of History and Industry, a position he held for 10 years. Throughout his life Jim wrote, ultimately publishing over 1,000 articles in numerous publications such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Times and Seattle Business Journal, as well as 16 books of northwest history. Jim was a Seattle Rotarian for 40 years, where he was made a Paul Harris fellow and honorary member in 1992. Over the years he served on multiple boards including the Seattle Opera, Seattle Historical Society, Maryhill Museum, and Northwest Chapter of the 42nd (Rainbow) Division Veterans, as well as serving as the president of the Washington State and Seattle chapters of the American Ex-Prisoners of War. Jim's philosophy was summarized as refusing jobs he wouldn't enjoy, passing up offers to leave the northwest, and staying where his friends were and where he could truly enjoy what he was doing. Friends speak of remembering him as an example of accomplishment, brilliance, humor, competence and love, comfortable with who he was. In addition to his wife Gwen, Jim is survived by two children (Gail and Jeff), two siblings (Kay and Claude), nieces, nephews and friends who will all miss his teasing sense of humor and story-telling. In lieu of flowers donations are suggested to the Washington Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, the Group Health Foundation, the Museum of History and Industry, or a .
Published in The Seattle Times from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16, 2012
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