James Chittenden, 80, of Tonasket died peacefully February 11, 2019 at his home surrounded by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends. Jim was born July 24, 1938 in Crockery Township, Michigan to Manley and Mabel Chittenden.
In 1956, at a theater in Spring Lake, Mich., Jim met the love of his life, Sandra Kaye Johnson. He told his buddy, George Gardner, “I’m going to marry that girl.” George laughed and said, “No way, she’s out of your league!” But he was determined and on Feb. 16, 1957 he married that girl. He was 18 and she was 16 and everyone said it wouldn’t last. They were wrong. Jim and Sandi spent 60 wonderful years together.
They had three children and in 1962 the family moved to Auburn, Wash. Jim worked various jobs learning to repair and paint cars and in 1970 opened his own business: Jim’s Auto Body.
Jim learned to play guitar when he was 16 and while in Auburn he formed a band and played in many local venues.
The family loved to travel and in their camper made several trips back to Michigan. They also camped all over Washington, Oregon and Montana. When the kids grew up, Jim bought a Honda Goldwing and made many road trips with friends.
In 1979, they bought property on the mountain above Aeneas Valley where they built a fully self-contained ranch. In 1984 Jim became ordained and ministered to the folks on the mountain, performing many weddings and baptisms.
In 1991 they moved to Tonasket where, with his son Dean, he built J-San Auto Body. Jim operated that business until he retired in 2010.
His passions were music, cars and his service to the Lord. He was a member of the Oroville United Methodist Church where he served as a lay minister and was a member of the band. He was President of the North Valley Car Club. He also served in the National Guard from 1956-1964.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Vicki and Tim Heath; sons and daughters-in-law, Dean and Tami Chittenden, Lorne and Kelleigh Chittenden; brother, Ron Chittenden; sister, Sharry Eggers; 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Sandi, one grandchild, his parents, two sisters and five brothers.
A memorial will be held April 2019 – more details will be coming. Memorials can be made to the United Methodist Church of Oroville.
Bergh Funeral Service & Crematory is in care of arrangements.