James Edwin Elsea passed away peacefully at Fairchild Medical Center on Sept. 22, 2013, surrounded by his daughters.

James Edwin Elsea passed away peacefully at Fairchild Medical Center on Sept. 22, 2013, surrounded by his daughters.

Born in 1915 in Loma Linda, he celebrated his 98th birthday on Sept. 3. Jim grew up in Ontario; his folks had a peach and walnut ranch, which inspired him to study agriculture.

After graduating from Chaffey Jr. College, he enrolled in University of California at Berkeley, majoring in entomology and agriculture. He did his student teaching at Linden High School. It was through a Linden student who conspired to have Jim meet her aunt that he met the love of his life, Wilma Lei. They married in 1939 and celebrated their 71st anniversary shortly before her death in 2010.

Soon after attaining his BS degree, Jim and Wilma moved to Siskiyou County, where he began his teaching at Etna High School. He then joined the faculty at Yreka Union High School, where he taught agriculture and forestry for 32 years. He served as president of the California Agriculture Teachers Association and was treasurer for 30 years of the Siskiyou Junior Livestock Auction committee. He was a charter member of the Siskiyou Fly Fishers Club, testimony to his love of fishing.

Jim and Wilma joined the Yreka United Methodist Church in 1949 and served on nearly every committee the church had to offer. Among the highlights of their years as United Methodists were 10 years with the Mobile Missionary Assistance Program, and traveling in their trailer from Florida to Alaska to Baja, Mexico, where they helped build or maintain orphanages, health clinics and soup kitchens. They volunteered for many years at Shasta Methodist Camp.

Jim loved the outdoors, whether to garden, camp, hunt or fish. He often took his FFA groups to the Marble Mountains. Jim and Wilma had visited such places as Canada, Israel, Germany, Russia and South America.
Jim will be remembered as a kind and generous person, who believed in service to others.

He is survived by his daughters, the Rev. Madeline Elsea Lee and Dr. Janet Elsea; and granddaughters, Cyndy and Danielle Elsea.

His son, Rollie, died in 2007. He leaves nieces Joan and Sue, nephew Raymond and hundreds of friends.
His life will be celebrated in a memorial service at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, at the Yreka United Methodist Church (Fairchild and Yama). Inurnment will be private.

Contributions in Jim's memory may be made to the Yreka United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 760, Yreka, CA 96097; or Heifer Project International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202 or www.heifer.org. Girdner Funeral Chapel is assisting the family. Online condolences may be made at www.girdnerfuneralchapel.com.