Jim “Jimmie” Ortega, born in 1949 in Morton, Washington, died June 21, 2018.
Jim lost his battle with cancer on June 21, 2018. He had many illnesses over the past 12 years and went through it all with strength, humor, love and dignity. He was an inspiration to all of us with his zest for life, even in the face of illness, and life was very difficult for him during these times.
Jim was born and raised in Washington and stayed connected to his childhood friends all these years. During the past few months he got to attend his 50th high school reunion and go up and visit all his buddies a few times. Then as time went on, they all made the drive down here to see him.
Jim married his first wife Georgia in Washington and together they had a son, Darren. They moved to Crescent City in 1972. Then in 1981 Jim met his wife and best friend, Sue, and together they had sons Jamie and Nick.
Jim’s kids were the light of his life, his joy, and his greatest accomplishment. He was so proud of their creativity, work ethic, humor and devotion to family. His favorite things to do were water skiing with the family and watching his kids play sports. Jim was hilarious to watch water ski, we called him the kamikaze skier and tuber.
He played softball for years, volleyball, and played basketball into his 50s and gave it his all for as long as he could. He lettered in three sports in high school and coached his kids in basketball, baseball and football and loved every minute of it. His positive attitude was infectious and his humor would brighten your day.
His love for music was passionate and he loved playing the electric guitar and harmonica. He would break into dance any time music moved him, and the dashboard of the car was a drum for Jim.
He was an avid fisherman, catching many salmon in the Smith River and ocean over the years.
Jim and Sue had a special connection, were best friends, business partners and did everything together. Sue retired last year to spend more time with Jim and take care of him as his illness progressed. Jim also loved his dogs Wiley and Bruski with all his heart and he took them everywhere.
Jim was an amazing wood carver and would spend countless hours carving, with headphones on of course. Many friends and family have his beautiful carvings. He also loved gardening and watching his chickens in the yard. He was a kind man who loved people and was genuinely interested in what was going on in their lives, and he could always make people laugh; whether they knew him or not, he would connect with humor.
Jim worked in the woods for a good portion of his life, setting chokers and falling timber, then became an engraver. He and Sue opened Champion Awards and Engraving and The Mail Room together in 1998.
He was a well-loved man with friends and family coming from all over the United States to see him. Jim had a special connection with his sister Toni, who got to come spend this last month with him giving him foot rubs and reminiscing about their childhood. Aside from Sue, his mom was the love of his life. She was a wonderful woman and her and Jim had a very special relationship.
We are all very saddened by his death and will miss him dearly but have peace in our hearts that this past couple of years he got to live life to its fullest, got to see so many friends and family, traveled and went to many concerts. There will be no services as we all feel like the last couple of years has been a celebration of his life that we got to have with him.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Alex and Shirley Ortega and sister Jackie Ortega. Jim is survived by his wife Sue, children Darren, Jamie and Nick, sister Toni, sister-in-law Linda Sasada (Mark), brother-in-law Rick Hoffard, sister-in-law Joanne Hoffard, nieces and nephews, Troy, Gina, Dara, Jackson, Nicole, Danielle, Carrie and Donald.
— Submitted by family