James Caldwell, 88, of Buellton passed away peacefully on Oct. 31, 2023. Jim was born in Peoria, Illinois, and was the youngest of six children.
He lost his father when he was 10 years old and started working soon thereafter as a newspaper delivery boy and caddy at the local golf course to help support his mother and siblings.
His family moved often, and Jim attended more than eight schools between kindergarten and high school.
Jim earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Illinois State University and San Jose State University, respectively. He started his teaching career in Santa Paula, and finished with the Lake Elsinore School District.
Between his time teaching, Jim served as a principal at several schools. As a Teachers’ Union representative, he advocated for the rights and well-being of his fellow educators.
Jim’s dedication to education made a lasting impact on those around him as evidenced by his being recognized as Teacher of the Year on multiple occasions.
Jim had a kind and soft-spoken nature. He had a passion for athletics and competed in the Senior Olympics. He enjoyed running in 5k races, hiked most of the trails in Yosemite National Park, and completed the remarkable feat of going up and down Mt. Whitney all in one day multiple times after the age of 65.
Besides athletics, Jim had a green thumb and spent countless hours gardening and caring for his yard. He cherished creating family memories on the many vacation trips to the beach and mountains the family took.
He took great pride in putting together the annual family scrapbook using the countless photos he had taken throughout that year (much to the chagrin of the family, but of great comfort now).
Jim leaves behind a legacy of kindness, caring, humor, and a love of nature and animals. He will be remembered as a proud husband and nurturing father.
He will be missed by his wife of 67 years, Patricia; his daughter Lorraine; sons Donald, Robert and Edward; and granddaughter Leina.
He was preceded in death by his father Eugene; mother Rosamond; brothers Al and Donald; and sisters Marily, Patricia and Rosemary.
The family would like to thank the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) and Atterdage Village for the wonderful care they provided.
Per Jim’s request, no services will be held. Loper Funeral Home of Solvang provided final arrangements for the family.