James K. Long | Passages

1932 to 2023

James Kenneth Long, West Linn, Oregon, passed away peacefully in assisted living/hospice care in February 2023. He was 90 years old.

James was born in San Pedro, California, to James Marvin and Lydia Anna Long on August 17th, 1932. Shortly after his birth, James (Jimmy) and Lydia moved to Orcas Island, WA. to live with Lydia’s Mom while James Sr. was away at sea serving a career in the U.S. Navy. Growing up on Orcas Island, he developed many childhood friends that would carry with him his entire life. James was a member of the Orcas Island High School Letterman’s Club and graduated in 1950.

After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Airforce and served 1950 through 1953 as an on-board Radio Control Technician. While serving, his family and sister, Carole Ann Long, moved to Portland, OR. where he attended and graduated from Portland State University in 1957. This is where he met his future bride, Nola Carlette Lund, and were married on October 4th, 1957. James took a sales position with US Steel Corporation and relocated to San Francisco, California. in 1958. His peers called him “Hollywood” for the sharp way he dressed.

In 1960, the family moved back to Portland and James took a sales position with Pacific Machinery & Tool Steel. During the first several years, he served as Chairman for the Portland Jaycee Ski School, 1961 and 1962. While developing his career, he was elected Chairman of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Chapter 63, for the State of Oregon. Throughout his career, he took pride and ownership for his responsibilities in sales, and sales management, up until July 1998 when he retired. He had a love for the steel industry, and a passion for working with his Pacific Northwest customers.

While in retirement, he published “Another Day in Paradise” 2004, a book about island memories from the 1930 and 40s living on Orcas Island. As a young boy growing up on Orcas, Jimmy had no inside plumbing or electricity. Water was brought inside from a hand-dug well. Baths were once a week in a galvanized floor tub, reading and evening dinners were by kerosene lamps. Electricity was brought to Orcas from the mainland in the early 50s which today is OPALCO. Before this, diesel power plants provided electricity.

Throughout his adult life, James loved his wife and family, extended family, the outdoors, photography, skiing, hunting, fishing, wood working, and traveling to other parts of the world. He loved being host family to many college foreign exchange students 1970 through 1985, and was a Meals on Wheels volunteer, Portland, Oregon.

James is survived by his three children, James, Jonathan, and Jennifer, his six grandchildren, Jessica, Grace, Jonathan, Hope, Andrew, and Olivia, and 4 great-grandchildren, Bella, Brooke, Carter, and Harley.

A special thank you to all the Assisted Living and Hospice Care professionals, friends, family members, and his canine friends Paddy and Sunny, who helped extend his life to the fullest. His youthful character will surely be missed.

“I want to say to all, sit back, sit on the North Shore of Orcas in the evening and just look at the water stretching out to Sucia. Dig your toes into the pebbles on the beach and listen to the Spirits as the previous Natives did. Let the wind brush off your cheek. Just listen.” James K Long, Still Waters, 2006