James ‘Jim’ Janson

James ‘Jim’ JansonOn Oct. 3, 2019, James Gustaf “Jim” Janson, a man for whom every day was a life adventure, began his last and most important adventure. He passed from this life to the next in Santa Barbara.

Jim was born in Los Angeles on Aug. 23, 1937. He graduated from Rosemead High School in 1955. In 1957 he graduated from Lassen College in Susanville, Calif., with a degree in firearms design and manufacture.

In June 1960 he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served as an aviation ordnanceman from 1960 to 1966, achieving the rank of staff sergeant. He was deployed to Japan and Vietnam and served in Da Nang as well as Chu Lai. In 1966 he left active duty as a staff sergeant and immediately was commissioned in the active reserves. He continued to serve his country as a Reserve Marine until December 1980, attaining the rank of chief warrant officer 3. He remained a proud Marine his whole life.

In 1967 he attended Cal Poly Pomona College and received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering. While still a student, he met and married Alice Martha “Marty” Becker. During his time as an undergraduate student, he learned to fly and became a flight instructor. Over the years Jim continued as a flight instructor, flying for the Bureau of Land Management, Utah Fire Service and U.S. Forest Service, as well as a glider tow pilot.

Son Gregory and daughter Jennifer were born while Jim and Marty were still at Cal Poly. Upon graduation, the family moved to Utah State University where Jim pursued a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering. Daughter Anne Marie was born while he was there. Jim and Marty decided to take advantage of an Army program through Texas A & M University, where he earned a master’s degree in engineering and manufacturing management.

In 1976 Jim, Marty and the children moved to China Lake, where Jim was to work in the Fuze Department as a mechanical and manufacturing engineer for 37 years. Jeffrey, Jim and Marty’s fourth child was born in China Lake. Jim designed and developed a variety of devices supporting fuzing efforts and was awarded a patent for the Mark Ill safety and arming device.

Marty died in December 1980, and Jim raised his young family alone while continuing to support our nation’s defense efforts at China Lake.

Jim married Elaine Wunderlich who also had four children (Erik, Anastasia, Gianna and Nicholas) in 1996 and together they enjoyed their family of now eight children. Jim loved all of his children; he was supportive of their efforts and ambitions, encouraged their dreams and was a steadfast presence in their lives. He loved children and was thrilled when he became a grandfather.

Jim was a man with many interests and talents. He was a superior gunsmith and had an encyclopedic knowledge of firearms, explosives and aviation. He loved to hunt and fish and after they married, he taught Elaine how to shoot and fish, and they had a great time doing that together. He had a wonderful sense of humor, dry wit and a beautiful smile. He was a wonderful man with a loving heart and a beautiful spirit. He lived a life of steadfast faithfulness and integrity. He kept his promises and honored his vows. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and grieved by those fortunate enough to love him and be loved by him

Jim is survived and lovingly remembered by his wife Elaine, son Gregory (Clara Finneran) and children Sophia, Lucas and Grace; daughter Jennifer Janson (Joe Sidoti); daughter Anne Marie Fogle (Ross) and sons Joshua and Michael; son Jeffrey(April), his daughter Sally-Jo Janson and stepgranddauaghter Alyssa Parish; stepson Erik Wunderlich; stepdaughter Anastasia Givens (Ross); stepdaughter Gianna Tuckner (Matthew); and stepson Nicholas Wunderlich (Lindsay.) He was predeceased by his mother Mildred, his father Gus, his sister Connie and his first wife and soulmate Marty.

Those of us who were privileged to have our lives touched by Jim know we are richer for it. We are now poorer at his loss but will forever be grateful.

Viewing will take place at the H.K. Holland Memorial Chapel on Friday Oct. 11, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., with Rosary at 6:30p.m.

Funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. at St. Ann Church on Saturday, Oct. 12, with reception immediately following in the St. Ann Parish Hall. Interment will be at 12:45 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 14, at Riverside National Cemetery.

Jim’s family greatly appreciates the caring support extended to Jim, Elaine and the entire family by the China Lake-Ridgecrest community.

Donations in his name can be sent to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Nashville, Tenn.

— Submitted by the family of James Janson

Story First Published: 2019-10-11