On Friday, October 26, 2012, James Leland Libby brother, husband, father, and grandfather passed away at the age of 87 years. Jim and his wife, Merrie were preparing to celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary on December 19, 2012.
Their children William “Bill” of San Diego and Susanne of Salinas will continue to embrace the life of their father along with their families. His grandchildren, Derek and Savannah, will miss the wisdom of their Papa as they work toward their goals for higher education that he so strongly supported. Jim’s siblings John of Chicago, Lila Roth of Lockwood, Leona Reif of San Martin, Frank”Arch” (Diane) of Nevada, Eldon (Shirley) of Paicines will fondly remember their brother and the childhood memories that became the base of so many stories.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents Frank and Helen (Underwood), his sister Ida May (at birth), his brother Allan, and his grandson Dylan.
The family has embraced Jim’s wishes to have a memorial service for his family and friends at the Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, 720 Monterey Street, Hollister. Services will be held at 1:00 P.M., on Sunday, November 4, 2012, at Saint Luke’s. In lieu of flowers the family request that your donation be made to your favorite charity.
Jim grew up on the “Libby Ranch” in the Cienega Hills of Hollister with his siblings and their parents. He moved away after graduating from San Benito Joint Union High School in 1944 to serve in the Marines. Jim returned to Hollister to study at San Benito Junior College before transferring to the University of California, Davis, where he earned a degree in Agriculture.
After college, he began his career in teaching while continuing to earn a masters degree in Education from UC Davis.
Jim and Merrie were married in l954 following a brief engagement. After his marriage to Merrie, Jim took a break from teaching to work at Sunsweet Growers in Gilroy followed by a short career in real estate where Frank A. Heiner mentored him. Jim took a unique position at the San Benito County Boys School to teach incarcerated juveniles. The “Boys School” closed in l973, which led his career to a new vocational program for high school students called, the Regional Occupational Program (ROP).
Jim began counseling ROP students at San Benito Joint Union High School before moving into teaching the construction component. He ended his teaching career with a position as a ROP construction instructor at the William F. James Boys Ranch in Morgan Hill were he again served young incarcerated students. Jim retired in l985 to pursue his interest in local government by serving on the San Benito County Planning board as well as devoting more of his time to Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church. He used this time to take several trips to Italy, Ireland, and England with his wife.
Jim continued his education, by studying theology to become a lay minister. He filled his last years with an equal devotion to both Saint Augustine’s, an Anglican church in Hollister, and care taking for his wife.
Jim was a Boy Scout Troop leader of 436 for many years supporting young men in gaining life skills. Jim and Merrie enjoyed camping with their children.. Camping trips were an opportunity to learn together about California and British Columbia. The duration of Jim’s life allowed him to evolve with many of today’s common inventions.
He embraced the evolution of technology especially computers and alternative energy. Family time incorporated working with his wife and children to maintain and remodel the family’s “older” home.
When his brother, Allan, passed away in 1984, he accepted the position as manager of properties which he and his siblings inherited from their mother. Jim spent several of his retirement years volunteering with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program supporting the elderly in preparing their taxes.
Jim leaves us with his belief that you are never done learning. One of his last statements to his daughter was, “Well, let’s go find out”.
His family would like you to remember the lessons he taught you and grow from them. You are asked to embrace Jim’s wisdom to never stop seeking the answer.
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