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James Heldman


1938 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Flowers
James Heldman Obituary
James Ronald Heldman

December 29, 1938 to December 1, 2018

Jim was born on December 29, 1938 to James A. Heldman and Frances Mahler Heldman. He passed away in Oakland on December 1, 2018, after a short battle with metastatic kidney cancer.
Jim was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He thoroughly enjoyed his life in Eugene, Oregon where he was able to fish, hunt and raft on the many rivers of Western Oregon.
Jim graduated from Eugene High School in June 1957. He then attended Millard Prep School in Langlois, Oregon where he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Jim joined the Military Academy as a member of the Class of 1962. During his four years at West Point, he was a member of many athletic teams and clubs. During his first class year, Jim was the captain of the ski team and was eligible for the 1960 Olympic ski team.
He was also able to travel widely during his cadet years, including a month of skiing in Portillo, Chile after his yearling year. For the two months before his first class year, Jim traveled through Europe where he was able to visit East Germany in the month before the Berlin Wall was built. In August 1961, he spent a month as an Infantry Platoon Leader during the AOT program where he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. It was during this time that the Soviet Bloc erected the Berlin Wall and his platoon was moved to their GAO (get ready to repel Russians and their cohorts when they invade Western European Allies) positions.
Upon graduation, Jim was commissioned in the Field Artillery, completed the Basic Course at Ft. Sill and later graduated from both Ranger and Airborne Schools. His first assignment was in Germany where he spent three years. In March 1966, Jim was transferred to Ft. Sill where he became a Battery Commander at the Officer Candidate School. In April 1967, Jim was transferred to Viet Nam where he became a Battery Commander in the 2/4 FA in the 9th Infantry Division. Jim was awarded a number of military decorations, among them the Silver Star and a Bronze Star for Valor. Jim resigned his Commission upon his return from Viet Nam in April 1968.
The highlight of Jim's years of military service was meeting Christine (Tina) Kwossek while he was stationed in Kitzingen, Germany. They were married in June 1966 in Seattle, Washington, where they started their civilian lives. In 1970, their daughter, Erika Kristin, was born. In 1972, Jim and Tina moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where they have made their home ever since.
Jim started his civilian career in the computer industry with Honeywell before joining startups Amdahl and Teradata Corp. He joined NCR/AT&T when they purchased Teradata in 1992. Jim then became the CEO of Teradata GmbH in Munich and later moved to London before returning to San Francisco.
Jim and Tina's activities included golf, tennis and traveling. Jim met Tina when he joined the local tennis club in Germany where Tina was a member, and tennis was always an important aspect of their lives.
Jim was a member of the Berkeley Tennis Club, where he served as President in 2004, and the Claremont Country Club. Jim and Tina enjoyed traveling in their retirement. They particularly enjoyed sailing on cruise ships (in one year they spent over 150 days at sea) and traveling by train.
As Jim entered his senior years, reflecting on his life, he credited his years at West Point with giving him the life he was able to live. As a member of the Long Gray Line, he took a great deal of pride in noting that his closest friends in life were his classmates and company mates of H-2.
Jim is survived by his wife Tina, his sister Neva, cousins in the Seattle, Washington area. He was predeceased by his daughter, Erika.
Jim will be interred in a private ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California. A memorial will be held on December 19, 2018 at 4 p.m. at the Claremont Country Club.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Dec. 9 to Dec. 16, 2018
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