'This totally sucks.' That was Jim's reaction to his diagnosis of cancer less than six months ago. It is also what he wished to be the opening line of his obituary. Even after being diagnosed, he was able to keep his contagious sense of humor and quick wit up to his very last moment with us. It came naturally to him to make his final journey as painless as possible for those who loved him. Jim left us peacefully on January 16, 2010, and so began his legacy.
He lived a remarkable and full life. He will be remembered as a genuine, intelligent and creative man, whose integrity and loyalty were unmatched. He put his family and friends before himself and could always be counted on to listen and provide sound advice. Jim would never let you down and found great pleasure in working hard to make other people shine. Words cannot describe what he meant to us, but we will be forever grateful for how he shaped our lives.
Born in 1946 in Twin Falls, Idaho, Jim moved to Richland with his family when he was a young boy. He was part of the first graduating class from Christ the King and graduated from Columbia High in 1964. He received his undergraduate and masters degree from Eastern Washington University and went on to teach English and become President of the Wapato Teachers Association at Wapato High School.
Jim's fondest childhood memories were the summers he spent on his grandfather's ranch in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho.
At the age of 28, Jim moved with his first wife and lifetime family friend, Annie, to Saudi Arabia, where he worked for Aramco. He taught poetry and literature there for eight years. He exposed his young sons to foreign experiences and visited a myriad of countries throughout his life. He appreciated different cultures and would often say, 'The world is your home.'
Jim was an avid sports fan and a gifted athlete. He finished 15 marathons, including New York City and the 100th running of Boston. His last marathon in Orlando was completed in his record time of 3:18 at the age of 53.
Jim also enjoyed countless evenings playing softball with his team from Cadwell Labs. He even ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, while he was helping his son, Kevin, make his first feature film. He loved film, music, books, road trips, his golden retrievers and the Mariners.
Jim spent the last nine years working with his second family, the wonderful marketing team at Lockheed Martin. Travel was frequent and he was lucky enough to have a fabulous experience in Iceland just last year. It was at Lockheed where he was one of the producers of an Emmy Award-winning commercial.
In 1985, Jim married the love of his life and wife of 24 years, Sheri. Jim and Sheri's love was an inspiration to all. Without a doubt, the highlight of Jim's life were his children: Kelly, a businessman; Kevin, a filmmaker; Tara, a doctor; Mark, an entrepreneur; and Michael, a valedictorian and WSU business student. Jim was further blessed with the addition of his kids' loving spouses: Samantha, Lisa, Brent, and Angela. He was a proud grandfather to Ava and Olivia and was ecstatic to hear about two grandchildren due this summer.
Jim's siblings Bob and Karen Noland, Pat and Debbie Noland, and Pete and Andrea Marsh will keep him forever in their hearts. His father-in-law and mother-in-law, Clarence and Kitty Wyss, will miss him dearly.
Jim was welcomed with open arms by his brother Larry, mother Helen, and father Robert in the beauty of the never-ending always.
Above all else, Jim will be remembered as a lifetime educator who made a difference to so many lives. It is in this spirit that his family has created The Jim Noland Foundation, dedicated to scholarships for higher education.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a donation to the foundation.
The Jim Noland Foundation
1333 Columbia Park Trail, Suite 310
Richland WA 99352
Please join Jim's family for a Celebration of Life on Saturday, January 23, 2010, at 1 p.m. His final act will be held at Terra Blanca Winery, 34715 N. DeMoss Road, Benton City.
As Jim would always say, 'Love Ya Hard.'
Published in Tri-City Herald on Jan. 20, 2010.