In Loving Memory Of James (Jim) Leroy Anderson 1936 - 2023


Jim Anderson passed away on Aug. 11, 2023, at his Woodland home while sleeping next to his beloved wife of nearly 62 years. He was 87 years old. Jim was born in Los Angeles on Feb. 16, 1936, to Milton and Peninnah Wrathall Anderson. He grew up in North Hollywood and was the youngest of three, with an older brother and older sister. Jim attended high school in Hollywood and graduated mid-year in 1953 at age 17. He immediately enlisted in the Navy as a radio communicator and saw the world from the decks of aircraft carriers. After his Navy days were over, he went to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, on the GI Bill and graduated in June 1961 with a degree in electrical engineering.

While in his senior year at BYU, Jim met his future wife, Paula Diane Stucki, at a school dance. They were married less than a year later on Sept. 2, 1961, in the Los Angeles temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were both active members of the church, and it would remain an important part of their lives together.

A few years after Jim and Paula married, they moved to Lahaina on the island of Maui and opened a business renting Honda 50 motorbikes. Jim eventually went to work for the University of Hawaii’s Solar Observatory on the top of Haleakala. They would return to the mainland in the fall of 1969 for Jim to begin working for the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in Pasadena. Five years later, Jim would transfer to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where he joined the imaging team and worked to process some of the first digital images from the exploration of space. In his 30 plus-year career at JPL, he worked on the Voyager I and II and the Galileo missions in addition to many other significant projects. Shortly after his retirement in 2000, he and Paula went to Nauvoo, Illinois, to serve on a mission for the church.

Jim was a loyal member of the Boy Scouts of America and made a tremendous impact as a Scoutmaster. He spent many years leading and teaching young men the joys of hiking, camping, the outdoors and the beauty of nature.

Jim was a master woodworker and created many beautiful things throughout his life. In college, he built a 14-foot sailboat and even sewed his own sails. He went on to build handcrafted wooden kayaks, a fishing pram and a four-poster bed for his daughter, in addition to many other beautiful and also many functional things. Jim loved to fix things and make things, but he never could put his tools back in the same place, so he ended up with lots of duplicates!

Jim was a dedicated volunteer and gave freely of his time to his community. He volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, participated in a Parkinson’s disease genetic marker study group, donated platelets to the City of Hope in Los Angeles, sang in the church choir, served at the Portland, Oregon, temple for over 12 years and was a church counselor to two different bishops. He held many volunteer positions at church and could always be counted on to lend a helping hand. In addition to their mission in Nauvoo, he and Paula also volunteered to teach at the Nanjing University of Technology in Nanjing, China, and served from June 2004 to August 2005.

Jim also made an impact on his local community in Woodland by bringing his pet rosy boa snake, Rocky, to the local elementary schools to teach children about snakes and share him as a classroom pet. They were both a big hit with the kids.  

Jim had a great sense of humor and loved to tell corny jokes that would make his kids' eyes roll. They called them his “JPL jokes.” He also loved a heaping bowl of ice cream and couldn’t be trusted with a box of See’s Candy.

Before Alzheimer's disease took his ability to appreciate reading and learning, he was an avid reader who loved to learn about everything and could talk about any subject. He also enjoyed most kinds of music and found great comfort in it during his final days.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Bill Anderson, and sister Nina Anderson McGiveran.

He is survived by his wife, Paula Anderson, his children, Michael Kahaleala, Joseph Milton, and Lorie Joyce, and his five granddaughters, Tori, Taylor, Kassie, Lilliene and Kayleigh.

The family wishes to extend their most heartfelt thanks to those who helped to care for Jim at the end of his life. He knew that he was loved.

A memorial service will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 281 Insel Road, Woodland, WA 98674 on September 9th at 11am. Friends of any faith are welcome.