Connor Joel James
April 20, 1997 - April 1, 2016
Salem - Connor Joel James was and continues to be a bright shining light in this world. Connor was born on April 20th, 1997 in Omak, WA to Jeff James and Lori James-Nielsen. From the age of two onward, Connor was raised and grew up in Salem, OR with his two older sisters, Sarah and Natalie. He attended Sumpter Elementary, Judson Middle, and Sprague High schools, where all along the way he made many lifelong friends and impacted the lives of countless people. From the beginning, Connor was a very curious, creative and independent boy. School came easily to him and while he didn't like to read, he was always finding new ways to learn and explore the amazing world around him. Connor had many passions: drawing, inventing new things, building new creations, exploring the outdoors, and he tried many sports over the years. While some of his interests were fleeting, lacrosse and the University of Oregon Ducks became two of his greatest passions. Connor played lacrosse since the age of 11 and was immediately a natural. When he cared about something he put his whole heart into it, sought excellence, and would not settle for anything less than. In high school, Connor participated in Youth Legislature, the Debate Team and lacrosse where in his senior year he helped captain his team to the state playoffs and earned 1st Team All Conference Honors. He enjoyed all of these pursuits and many more, but nothing compared to the time he spent with his friends. Connor had a contagious smile, a diverse sense of humor, and a magnetic personality. He was deeply caring, tenderhearted, and always possessed a quiet strength that made those around him feel loved and important. In the fall of 2015, Connor realized one of his dreams by becoming a freshman at the University of Oregon where he was pursuing his passions and studying biology. In this short time, Connor quickly formed many close friendships and excelled in his classes.
Connor passed away in a tragic accident April 1st, 2016. Although, his time on this earth was short lived he lived it to the fullest and left a legacy we can all only hope to achieve in our lifetimes. Connor is survived by his parents, Lori James-Nielsen & David Nielsen, Jeff & Cecilia James; sisters, Sarah & Natalie James; and stepsisters, Olivia, Holly & Emma Nielsen; his grandparents, aunts, uncles and many cousins. His Celebration of Life will be on Saturday April 9th, at 11am at Salem Alliance Church, 555 Gaines St NE, Salem, OR 97301. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to his Memorial fund, which can be found online at gofund.me/vjxgxmak. We hope to honor him by providing a college scholarship to a member of the Sprague LAX team in the ensuing years and help with much needed equipment and gear for the team.
Connor has changed the landscapes of our hearts and lives forever, and we are all the better for it.
Published in The Statesman Journal on Apr. 7, 2016.