James Albert Whittaker – Jim, was born June 22, 1930 at Ukiah California to Clarence Alvin Whittaker and Vera Mae Dashiell Whittaker. He grew up in Mendocino County around Willits and Potter Valley. He graduated from Willits High School in 1949. In school he was active in Future Farmer’s of America (FFA), even went to Kansas City by train to the National FFA Convention, leaving Oakland in the evening, traveling through the Sierra mountains in the dark across Nevada in daylight, through the Wasatch mountains that night then on to Kansas City. He saw a lot of the desert on that trip, had an interesting time meeting other delegates from all parts of the California and the US. They then came back through the southern route through Texas.
Jim then attended and graduated from California State Polytechnic College, in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, as he had sheep and wanted to make a better future for them. He was honored by the Mendocino County Wool Growers’ Association. He also served on the Mendocino County grand jury, at Ukiah.
In 1953, Jim enlisted in the United States Navel Reserve’s Ship Activation program. And in 1956, Jim married Lurlene Leverne (Walter) Whittaker (deceased) Feb 11, 1956. Together, they raised one son Larry Edward Whittaker (deceased) and had many good years farming and ranching. As years passed, the National Farmer’s Organization was developing, and he flew to Kansas City to the National Convention. NFO wanted parity pricing for Ag products! He met a great group of farmers from Idaho and in 1970, Jim moved his family to Dietrich, Idaho. The NFO had inspired his move and Jim and Lurlene were active members.
While in Dietrich, Jim served on the Dietrich school board and the Wood River Soil and Water Conservation District. In 1989, he was named Conservation Farmer of the Year. He also gave 12 years of service to the Big Wood Canal Company.
Jim enjoyed the great outdoors and had some beautiful times hunting in the fall season with the colorful autumn leaves. His friends and neighbors gave him great pleasure. He was blessed with many friends in Dietrich and the Magic Valley area. One, Donna Maxine Price, loved him and shared his life, as a wonderful, caring companion and friend until he took his last breath. A gathering will be hel on Friday, Nov 1 at Rosenau Funeral Home from 3-5PM