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Obituaries » Gary Edward James

Gary Edward James

December 12, 1951 - June 28, 2018

U.S. Veteran

Service Date: July 7, 2018

A Service of Worship and Witness to the Resurrection will be celebrated at 10AM at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa 1550 Pacific Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Private interment at Bennett Valley Cemetery.


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Gary was born to Ruth and Merlyn James of Santa Rosa, California on December 12, 1951. His brother Mark was born three years later. Gary graduated from Montgomery High School in 1970 and enlisted in the United States Army that same year. He provided helicopter radio maintenance for the 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles” during his tour in Vietnam from 1971-1972. When his military service ended, Gary returned home to work in the family business, James Roofing until 1975 when he joined the Santa Rosa Fire Department. Two years later, he met and married Theresa Sanders and together they raised two children: Lisa and Matthew.
Gary served as a career firefighter for 30 years, mostly with Station 4 on Yulupa Avenue until he retired in 2005. He remained connected with the fire department community – attending picnics and other functions.
Among colleagues and friends Gary was revered as dedicated, loyal, hard-working and honorable; to his family he was a devoted husband, supportive father, and proud grandfather. A valued member of First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa, Gary served as a deacon and helped establish and co-facilitate the Caregivers Support Group. Having cared for Theresa when diagnosed with severe dementia, Gary became a mentor in the dementia-support community of Sonoma County, giving others encouragement and hope in their care of loved ones.
Gary’s untimely death and absence weighs on all who knew and loved him, especially his family. He is survived by his wife, Theresa; daughter Lisa and her husband, Eddie Quiroga, and their daughters Lauren and Leah, of Beaverton, Oregon; son Matthew of Wellington, Colorado; brother Mark and his spouse Teresa Wood of Cloverdale; uncle Richard of Santa Rosa; and sisters-in-law Janice Sanders and Claire Radtke, both of Santa Rosa.
A Memorial Service will be celebrated at 10:00AM on Saturday, July 7, 2018 at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa 1550 Pacific Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Private interment at Bennett Valley Cemetery.