Christian 20

James Francis Boatman

July 8, 1940 ~ February 18, 2020 (age 79)


“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice and no one will take away your joy.”  John 16:22

Jim was ushered by angels from his earthly home of more than 3 years at Evening Star, Happy Valley, to his eternal home on February 18, 2020.  It was a very peaceful day and grateful for a life well lived.

Jim Boatman was a very happy boy from day one.  He was born at Wilcox Hospital in Portland, Oregon  on July 8, 1920 joining his sister and two brothers.

The family lived in Portland and then moved to a ranch in LaGrande.  They immediately became involved as a family at the First Baptist Church where his SS teacher, Louise Brammer, led little Jimmy to the Lord.

One of his earlier Christmas gifts was a newspaper bag with a note saying “This is for your use when delivering the daily newspaper.”  He was immediately looking forward to his new responsibility, meeting new friends and soon became known as the “Little Billy Graham”.  He told everyone about his close friend, Jesus.

Grandpa Boatman lived with the family and often the two of them were seen on the back porch together, answering little Jimmy’s questions.  He had a very inquisitive mind.  During his younger years he seemed to develop a natural talent on the keyboard.  He played on occasion at local nursing homes as well as the piano and organ at church and the mortuary where he delivered the newspaper.  He also was involved with singing groups.

After receiving his degree in Political Science from EOC in LaGrande, he moved back to Portland where he attended Western Seminary.  After graduation he became the CE Director and organist at Burlingame BC.  During this time he also taught in the Portland Public Schools as well as signing a contract to teach with the US Government in Guam for 2 years.  While living on the Island he used his talents at Youth for Christ, with the Weather’s Mission Ministry, and visited missionaries in the Orient during vacation.

God began speaking to Jim about the need for teachers in Christian Schools.  He soon began teaching at the West Hills Christian School and worked part-time at the Riverview Abbey Mausoleum.  He also seemed to squeeze in time to become president for OCUMA, sing in the Portland Symphonic Choir, had weekly meetings with his Kiwanian Friends, be church organist, play and/or sing for weddings and memorial services as well as give occasional piano and organ lessons.

About this time he sensed a need to become married, he picked up the phone and called the love of his life.  He proposed and married Bonnie Dick.  It truly was a time “not-soon-to-be-forgotten.”  Both agreed not to make any major changes for one year, then God could use them wherever.  One year to the day they found themselves in Stockton, CA where Jim became the Superintendent of a Christian School (K to 12th grade) and Associate Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church for 7 years.  We have many happy memories from our time in California, including school/church, forever friends, Rotary, travel, etc., but then Jim sensed a need to return home to our ailing parents.

He was first called to a Music Ministry at FBC in Vancouver, then found himself teaching part-time at Clark Community College.  A dear friend called one day and asked if Jim would be interested in becoming one of the Managers of a senior residence in Kent, Washington.  Bless his heart, he was willing to try, but with no guarantees.  For two years we built and filled Stafford Suites, with no medical background, but LOTS of training. At the end of 2 years he felt he should resign and return to Portland.  This truly was a disappointment and he returned to teaching part-time at MHCC where he retired after 20 years.

If you knew my Jim well, you were aware of his deep love for the Lord, his wife and family.  He looked forward to trips to the ocean and travel.  He so enjoyed his mother’s cherry pie, his mother-in-law’s spaghetti  AND chocolate.  It was easy to please him.

There were many times through the years that Jim was in the hospital and rehab. Often I thought he wouldn’t see the next day.  Until he developed dementia, and one night couldn’t walk, I sensed his time on this earth wasn’t long.  But, thanks to Evening Star in Happy Valley,  and their professional care, he lived 3 more years.  Those were precious days of drawing closer and after much prayer he was admitted to hospice only 7 days prior to his departure from this world.  ABSENT FROM THIS WORLD MEANS PRESENT WITH THE LORD.



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