JAMES—Russell (Russ) Martin James, 94, passed away March 8, 2021


JAMES—Russell (Russ) Martin James, 94, passed away March 8, 2021, after a short illness.

Russ was a loving son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, father-in-law and friend of many.

He was born Jan. 7, 1927, in Portland, Ore., to parents Juanita May Martin and George Russell James.  Raised as an only child with a single mother, Russ and Juanita moved to Roseville, Calif., in 1931 and then to Sacramento, Calif., in 1935.

Before graduating from Sacramento High School, Russ applied for appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marines. After graduation, he attended the Kings Point Maritime Academy in California. He was then officially appointed as Cadet Midshipman of the U.S. Merchant Marine Reserves and the U.S. Naval Reserves and was assigned to a new ship: The SS Xavier Victory.

Russ served in WWII’s Pacific War zone, spending time in Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, New Caledonia, Japan and Shanghai, China. Russ left the Merchant Marines with an Honorable Discharge in 1946.

Upon his return to Sacramento, Russ met the love of his life, Patsy (Pat) Braun.  After a two-year courtship, Russ and Pat married in Mill Valley, Calif., and honeymooned in San Francisco. During their time in Sacramento, they were very active in the Twenty-Thirty Club and loved to entertain friends in their infamous “Bat Attic.”

In 1958, Russ took a promotion with the Mel-Williams Co. (a company he would eventually own) in San Francisco and moved the family to Fremont, Calif.

In the community, Russ was active in the Presbyterian Church and a founding member of the Fremont Sailing Club. 

Russ was a very successful salesman, winning many awards during his career. Often, these awards included travel for he and Pat, taking them to places like Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Family was everything and Russ ensured that the family took many trips together, including annual trips to Carmel, Calif., and house-boating on Lake Shasta and the Delta where he taught all his children to fish. He loved family days at the beach, tide-pooling with his kids until everyone was wet.

After selling Mel-Williams in the 1980s, Russ and Pat moved back to Sacramento, where he was a vice-president at Sierra Spring Water until he retired in 1994.

They then moved to Florence, Ore.

Russ loved the Florence community. He was very active with the Presbyterian Church and Habitat for Humanity, publishing their newsletter for many years.  Russ loved to write, paint, travel and golf.

Russ spent the last three years at Shorewood Senior Living, where he maintained many friendships.  He was always there with a shoulder for those that needed it, or to brighten their day with his quick wit.

Russ is preceded in death by his wife, Pat James; and his son, Marty James.

Russ is survived by his son, Mickey James; daughters, Pam James and Tracy Ricketts; grandchildren: Christopher James and CarlaRae James Arneson; and great-grandson, Levi James Arneson.

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