Posted by Morris James on Aug 12, 2019
Rotarian Morris James, a member of the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County, gives us a good overview of his life of service with this biography. 


First, I was born in Bremerton, Wa.  the 27th of November 1945, and as you can see I did not fall far from the tree. My father was too old [40 when the war broke out] to go into the military at the time so he quit his teaching job and went to work in the Bremerton Navy yard as a pipefitter and welder. After the war he went back to teaching where he was Principal and Superintendent of Vader grade school in Vader, Wa. where I attended grades 1 through 8. 


I was a Polio victim when I was 11 years old, and was in an iron lung for months. My mother was in charge of the March of Dimes in our Dist. So Polio Plus is personal with me.


After grade school my father wanted to retire in Skagit county where we moved to Concrete,  Wa. He thought this might be better hunting and fishing so he moved our family in 1960. We built a new house on the banks of the Skagit river approx. 8 miles from town. This is where I attended high school and enjoyed sports - football, basketball, and I also ran track. in addition I was on the Chess team.  


After graduation I enlisted in the Army as we had a draft at that time and I wanted to see Europe.


My military career was mostly uneventful. I was sent to Ford Ord Calif. for basic and advanced training. My MOS was 716.20 [personnel specialist] After training I was sent to a small unit just outside of Frankfort Germany called AFN [ American Forces Network Radio] which was located in Hoechst, Germany. This was just like in the movie as I lived in an Apartment and drove to work Monday through Friday. Also this was the only time in my life I had a new car. I purchased a VW export model for $1365.00. Actually I have had several new vehicles, however they have been pickup trucks. At AFN I was lucky to meet and have dinner with some great entertainers  like the Beach Boys, Petula Clark, Della  Reese, and Ella Fitzgerald to name a few.


After my obligation with the US Army I was discharged at Fort Dix NJ, and upon returning home [Washington state] I soon met the love of my life Sandy and Married in Dec. 1967. We just celebrated 51 years this year. 


I started my career with a small lumber and building materials company, called Lumbermens, January 2nd 1968. A great place to work. I was there for 20 years, and started in sales where I managed several Departments:  Paint, Electrical, Tools, and contractor sales.  I had won several national sales contest and was invited to Los Angeles Calif. by Bob Mcculloch for being the top dealer for Mcculloch chainsaws. In 1979 I was transferred to a new Lumbermens store on Bainbridge Island where I had the pleasure of working with my future business partner and friend Joe Lovato. After 4 years on Bainbridge Island, Lumbermens opened a new store in Redmond Wa. where I again was transferred as store manager. Lumbermens was a great place to work and gave me a lot of training. They also provided me with additional education and time off to go to school. After 20 years with the company they had sold to a large investment group.  This is when I decided to join my friend Joe at Hadlock Building Supply. We had a good run of 22 years until Joe’s passing. I decided to retire.


As for family, Sandy and I have two great children. Doug, our first born, has had a great career with the Dept of Justice. He was focused as a kid and wanted to be in law enforcement. Doug was recruited in his Jr. year at the U of W by the DEA. After graduation he went to the FBI academy in Quantico Va. then sent to San Francisco. After several promotions and moves he was sent to Seattle and was the Senior Agent in charge. Doug put on programs for our Rotary Club, and after 27 years he retired and now is the Head of Security for Bellevue School Dist. Our son has 3 girls, Angilana, Alexis, and Annibele.  Kristina, our daughter, came to Hadlock with us in her junior year of high school and got a  part time job at the Chimacum café where she still is today. She married the cook at the café, Brian Horner, and they now own the Chimacum Café. They have one daughter, Delana. 


As for hobbies I have many, I hunt, fish, travel, scuba dive [trained with Brian Belmont and my daughter Kristina] and have a collection of old cars which we drive on tours both national and international.


Clubs and organizations that Sandy and I belong to are the Mustang Club of America, Model T Ford Club of America, NRA, Jefferson County Gun Club, Ducks unlimited, and the National Wild Turkey Federation.


Before I retired I was  a member of a lot of local groups and organizations, Food Bank, Chamber of Commerce [past president]  civil service board [Jefferson Co. Sheriff], including Rotary, to name a few.


So when I retired I resigned from everything including Rotary. I have always said that if I were to get involved with another obligation it would be Rotary as I enjoyed the people and the work they do. When I first joined with a little push from my old friend Joe [he was a past president on Bainbridge Island]  I was a Rotarian for about 20 years and was involved with several projects including The Rotary Pavilion at HJ Carroll County Park. I rejoined the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County again in early 2019, and am glad to be back helping with projects to improve our local community.




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