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James Garland Means, 1960-2009

Former Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputy and Army paratrooper leaves a wife, two children behind

“Nothing is ever wholly lost. That which is excellent remains forever a part of this universe.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Friday, May 22, 2009, James Garland Means passed away unexpectedly. James was born September 13, 1960, in Pampa, Texas, to James Ernest Means and Evelyn Gail (Pierce) Means. He lived in Pampa his first three years before moving with his family to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

James Garland Means
James Garland Means

He graduated from Woodlawn High School, Baton Rouge, in 1978 and enlisted in the Army, attending basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and then jump school at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was trained as a demolition specialist and was assigned to a Combat Engineering Squad. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne paratroopers. During the eight years James spent serving our county, he made more than 135 jumps. After attaining the rank of sergeant E-5, “Bud” received an honorable discharged from the Army.

For eight years he worked as a field superintendent in refinery construction, which eventually brought him to Santa Barbara. In 1990 he joined the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. His assignments included the South County Operations Division, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, the New Cuyama resident deputy position, and finally the Special Operations Division. While there, Bud was at various times assigned to Special Enforcement Detail, Gang Unit, Narcotics, the Santa Barbara Regional Narcotics Task Force, and the Bomb Squad and Intelligence/Vice units until he resigned in 2003.

James leaves the love of his life and wife of seven years, Zoraida Abresch. He also leaves behind his parents; brother Larry Means and sisters Chris Brumfield and Vickie Thompson; two adult children, James A. Means and Christina Means; and nephews and nieces Todd Thompson, Tyler Thompson, Ethan Means and Nicole Young.

James never met a stranger and befriended everyone he met.

James, you will always be in our hearts and minds, your friends and family will always love you!

Services will be held at noon Saturday, May 30, 2009, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Mural Room, 1100 Anacapa St.

Donations in lieu flowers can be made to the Disabled American Veterans. Click here for more information.

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