|James Swatts of Glenhaven, Calif., died on January 29, 2012. He was 75 years old.|
James D. Swatts was born in Lafayette, Indiana on Nov. 2, 1936. He passed away on Jan. 29, 2012, from complications after heart surgery.
In 1944, he came to Vallejo, Calif., with his dad Raymond, mother Marie, brother Jerry and sister Juanita in a 1936 Chevrolet. Later in 1946 they moved to Napa, where he lived through his high school years.
In May of 1953, while visiting the big town of Oakville, this Camel smoking, hot roding, 1950s boy of 16 met Doris, a very naive, Seventh-day Adventist Church school girl of 14.
In early 1954, Jim enlisted in the Navy during the Korean conflict. He was discharged in September 1957 and went to work for Pacific Telephone Co.
In November of 1957, Jim and Doris married. They had three children – Brenda, Jerry and Jimmy. In November of 2011 Jim and Doris celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary.
In 1964, he transferred to the Santa Rosa area to work and bought a home in Rohnert Park, where he lived with his family for 18 years.
While in Rohnert Park, he became interested in police work. First, he went on ride-a-longs with friends and then joined the police reserves.
Over the next 12 years, he worked his way up to lieutenant and was placed in charge of the police auxiliary dispatchers, the reserve officers and the police explorers, in addition to going to school and working for the phone company.
Two years of this time was spent as a training officer for the Cotati Police Reserves. The Police Explorers earned such a good reputation because of their training that 10 of them, by special invitation, were asked to work security for a benefit dinner where President Gerald Ford was guest speaker.
In 1981, Jim transferred to Lake County as an inspector mechanic for Pacific Bell, purchasing a home in Glenhaven where he lived until his death.
He ran for District 3 supervisor and while walking the district and talking to the people, he learned, among other things, that what most people were concerned about was Clear Lake. It became his passion to do something about it. Thus, the Friends of Clear Lake was formed and for years, he fought unsuccessfully to dredge the lake.
Jim was a member of the United Methodist Church of Clearlake Oaks. While living in Napa, he was a member for several years of the San Pablo Oddfellow Lodge and Past Noble Grand of that Lodge. He was a past member and for several years, the Master of the Clearlake Oaks Grange Hall. He was also a member of the Hartley Masonic Lodge of Lakeport and a member and past President of the Lake County Shriners Club. In addition, he was 1st Vice President of the Lake County NAACP Organization.
Jim was a very caring man. He always had someone calling him for advice or for help of some kind. It didn't matter what it was; if he could help, he did. He always had a pocket full of candy and a truck full of stuffed animals for the children he came across and he always told the parents the toys were from the Shriners Club. In church or wherever he went, they frequently called him “The Candy Man.”
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Marie; brother, Jerry; three sisters; and one granddaughter.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Doris; daughter, Brenda and her husband, Billy; sons, Jerry and wife, Robin, and Jimmy and wife, Allison; sister, Juanita Schneider and her husband, Bill; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and his two puppies.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Clear Lake/Callayomi Masonic Lodge, 7100 South Center Drive, Clearlake.
Arrangements are being handled by Adobe Creek Funeral Home of Petaluma, Calif., www.adobecreekfuneralhome.com.