James B. Thompson
1930 - 2021
James B. Thompson
May 28, 2021
Carmichael, California - On May 28, 2021, a great man and sadly the end of an era, departed this life on a journey to find eternal rest.
James B. Thompson was born in the sleepy midwestern town of Independence, Kansas in 1930. Parents, James and Alphalee Thompson, moved their family with children Jim, Tom, and Bernard to California when he was just six years old. Jim would spend all but ten years of his life in California. Raised in Modesto, California, Jim attended Modesto High School, Modesto Junior College, and later Hastings College of Law. Admitted to the California State Bar in 1953, Jim served as a research attorney for the Third District Court of Appeals, leading him to serve his country as a Judge Advocate General in the United States Army beginning in 1954 as a First Lieutenant. That same year he married the love of his life, Patricia Bender. Jim and Pat would share so many memories in their 59 years of marriage, raising five children and nine grandchildren. Jim was honorably discharged from the Army in 1957.
Upon discharge from the Army, Jim and Pat moved back to California where he founded and became a managing partner of Skirving, Thompson, & Fennell, Attorneys at Law until 1983. In August 1962 Jim met Fred Anderson, owner of Anderson Lumber (which would eventually be known as Pacific Coast Building Products – PCBP). What was thought to be a casual introduction, as Fred was "in between attorneys," became a long-lasting relationship between Jim and Fred built on trust and admiration, lasting until Fred's death in 1997. Jim's legal area of expertise was well known in matters such as construction, mechanics liens, mergers, acquisitions, estate planning, and real estate. In 1977 Jim was asked to become a member of the Pacific Coast Building Products Board of Directors. Not soon after Fred's death in 1997, Jim was elected Chairman of the Board of Pacific Coast Building Products.
Jim's time as a real estate, business, and probate attorney for almost 64 years was just a fraction of his dedication to his community. Throughout his life, Jim was a devoted member of the Carmichael Rotary representing District 519 as the Conference Secretary, Club Director, volunteering on countless committees, and ultimately, serving as the District Governor from 1989-1990. In 1988, Jim was named Rotary Man of the Year. Jim (and Pat's) contributions helped countless needy families in the community. Jim's impact on his community was vast, donating his time as a Scoutmaster, a Cub-Scout Commissioner, President of the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce, a founding member of the Carmichael Elks Lodge, a volunteer Arbitration Hearing Officer for Sacramento County Superior Court, President of the Kyburz Water Company, a Search and Rescue Pilot for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Air Squadron, and a Sacramento County Air Pollution Hearing Officer.
Jim's open passion for community and worldwide service would eventually take them to China for a round of Rotary meetings. This meeting would coincide with the unforgettable encounter at Tiananmen Square; Pat and Jim found themselves at the edge of the square. Due to the potential danger, their trip was cut short. Jim and Pat gathered their belongings to head back to California to remain out of harm's way. For a man who spent so much time serving his community and business, how did Jim find the time to unwind? The answer – he tended to his beloved wife, Pat. They traveled the country and the world together; a second home in Kauai, Hawaii and a cabin they built in Kyburz, California. They could be often found roaming across Lake Tahoe in their wooden boat named the "Patricia Lee." Jim's garden was something for others to envy and enjoy (the fruits of his labor) growing tomatoes and corn, all the while making knives, raising cows, raising and caring for horses – all on their two-acre property in Carmichael. In addition to these hobbies at their home, Jim enjoyed flying airplanes, fishing in Alaska and Montana and in Carpenter Valley.
Yet, what Jim loved being most – a loving husband, dad, and poppa. Jim loved to spend time with his family on their annual trip to Santa Cruz, Sunday night dinners, and spending the end of the day on the farm in the pool with his family. Christmas was never short of anything but magical at the Thompson house. All of these things that Pat and Jim loved so much, continue even to today.
Jim was truly a renaissance man, but his true love was Patty, their children, their grandchildren, and their great grandchildren. While he is no longer here, he left us with the greatest gift of all – to love and take care of one another and to be kind.
Jim was preceded into death by his wife, Patricia Thompson, Corinne Thompson (daughter), Bernard Thompson (brother), and James and Alphalee Thompson (parents). Jim is survived by his daughters, Barbara Berry (Tim), Denise Schedler (Mike) and Renee Thompson, and his son Mark Thompson. Jim leaves his legacy with his grandchildren Chris Berry (Erin), Greg Thompson, Mike Berry (Katie), Kim Berry-Lantz (Matt), Lisa Patton, Kaylene Patton, Mitchell Thompson, Nicole Thompson, and Sarah Schedler and his great-grandchildren Blake Berry, Levi Berry, Brooks Berry, Kinslee Lantz, June Berry, Graham Berry, Rylee Lantz, Finlee Lantz, and Georgia Berry. Jim is also survived by his brother Tom Thompson, nephews Jeff and Tyler Thompson, and niece Jenny Thompson.
A military service was held privately by the family on June 17, 2021. The family suggests that any remembrances be sent to Easter Seals Superior California at Sacramento, the Rotary Foundation in Evanston, Illinois, Shriners Children's Hospital – Sacramento, or a charity of choice.

Published by & from Jun. 18 to Jun. 20, 2021.
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2 Entries
My dad, whose office was right across Watt Avenue from Jim's on Park Town Circle, was one of Jim's clients in the late 60's when I graduated from law school and introduced us ostensibly so I could pick Jim's brain about opening my practice in Sacramento if I passed the bar. Jim shared a lot of good insights with me and one thing led to another eventually resulting in him offering me a deal I could not resist: Work with him 40 hours a month and he would cover ALL my overhead and I could keep 100% of whatever I produced on my own! Jim was very adept at practical jokes. Gordon Schaber had advance knowledge of who had passed the Bar examination and Jim wanted to know if I wanted to find out early if I had passed. Although I said no because I had arranged for my wife to call me from Sausalito to let me know whether or not I had passed Jim came into my office with a very serious expression on his face early in the morning before the results were made public and said "I have some news for you about the Bar Exam results... (pregnant pause)...a Robert M. Wheatley, Jr., passed the Bar." After an initial brief moment of elation/relief I mentioned that I was NOT a Junior...Jim smiled in his inimitable way and said "I know, but don't worry about such minutiae because the RMW who passed lives at your Sausalito address, congratulations, and let's celebrate with lunch on me!" Before the formal swearing in ceremony Jim personally introduced me to most of the then sitting judges on the Sacto Muni and Superior Court benches, the justices on the 3rd DCA, as well as the District Attorney and a host of local attorneys in private practice. Jim was truly one of a kind: A GREAT attorney with absolute integrity, a keen intellect, and an intuitive practical approach to both the science and the art of practicing law. He was an even better mentor and friend and I am to this day thankful that the good Lord got me off on the right foot as a newly minted lawyer by blessing me at the beginning of my professional career with the opportunity to work with, and learn from, JBT.
Bob Wheatley
June 24, 2021
I worked for Jim years ago at Skirving, Thompson & Fennell. Those were some of the best years of my life. We lunched together almost daily. I will NEVER forget the look on Jim's face, then his laughter (and Bill's too) when I shook a bottle of ketchup over my right shoulder and the cap flew off. Ketchup all over the place mostly on the occupied table behind me. Miraculously not a drop hit any person.
To Jim's family I am so sorry. but you all should be VERY proud of the life you gave him.
RIP Jim,
Jack Nissen, Placerville, CA
Jack Nissen
June 18, 2021
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