James (Jim) N. Pepper

Jun 25, 1941 – Mar 13, 2019

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James N. Pepper departed this life on March 13, 2019 at age 77. He was held, prayed for, sung to, and blessed by his immediate family, extended family, and friends during the sudden storm of circumstances ending his caretaking role on Earth. 

Papa is dearly missed. Jim’s wife of 54 years, Judy; his children Julie Beach and Jeff Pepper; grandchildren Dakotah Pepper, Sydney Beach, and Travis Beach, were present at his death along with his brother, Bob Pepper from Alaska, Brenda Pepper, daughter-in-law, relatives Steve and Norma Knopp, Cynthia Weaver, and family friends Ryan Kolbrick and Vitaliy Nazarchuk, Brent Wofford, and, Shelly and Alexandra Brouillet. Jim’s soul purpose was fulfilled in every aspect of his life, with family landing at the top of his list. 

Born of first-generation Canadian immigrant Leslie A. Pepper and second generation Seattlite Beulah Maie Aurthur-Pepper, Jim was raised in West Seattle, graduating from West Seattle High School in 1959. He sustained a career in heavy apparatus repair for forty-five years, a self-made man, retiring as president of Simmco in 2002. His career began at Westinghouse in 1960 working for his father at the original plant on Spokane street in downtown Seattle. He swept the parking lot, sandblasted parts, and learned his trade with hands on experience. Jim was the Service Center Manager when the plant was purchased by Eastern Electric in 1986. Grand Eagle took over in 1996 and Jim remained a leader in the industry keeping running the hydroelectric generators, transformers, and electrical apparatus driving Washington State Ferries, Snoqualmie Falls, and dam generation systems across Washington State as well as ships and refineries in the Pacific Northwest. Jim’s knowledge, skill, and workmanship earned him a stellar reputation in the apparatus repair business; after retirement he was retained as a consultant for Simmco until the business was sold in 2018.

Jim’s work required creative thinking which led to his ability to fix just about anything and Jim’s love of people was shared in the offering of his gifts. Comments from friends when learning about Jim’s passing included; “He taught Billy how to change his brakes”, “He jumped my car at 5am in the snow”, “He fixed my lawnmower every Spring”, his neighbors, too, were included in Jim’s eternal generosity with his time and talents.

Jim was a long-time member of the Des Moines Yacht Club serving as treasurer and attending many work weekends, checking in on Margaret the caretaker, just a week before his death. Jim’s gracious acceptance of life and dedication to service is witnessed in the many friendships he has retained from his fellow Des Moines Yacht Club members.

Jim was an avid fisherman in his younger years, trolling for salmon out of Westport, WA and a lifelong hunter. Many of his children’s memories are embedded in the smell of fresh smoked salmon outside the trailer at Pillar Point and Silver King. Jim was never so proud as when his son Jeff landed a thirty pounder that was almost as big as Jeff at the time. Jeff and Jim spent many hours together hunting. Their most recent trip to Elk Camp last fall provided an insight into Jim’s thoughtfulness as he is pictured in his trademark buffalo plaid and a pair of long-johns, hunting boots left on, ready to jump into action until the last hunter returned. For many years, Jim, his son Jeff, and life-long friends Bob Howard, Fran Fischer and others scoured the woods for deer and elk, planning their trips, scouting together, cutting wood and creating the world’s most

manly hunting camp. A sign of the changing times, and Jim’s changing modernistic views led to the brilliant decision to allow women into hunting camp. Janette Howard was one of Jim’s other daughters, who hunted and fished with Jim. Buffalo plaid hats are off to Janette and Jeff’s wife Brenda who braved the blue tarp tent and the black wrought-iron-pan camp gravy, the stack fires, and the snoring to spend time with Jim in his favorite pastime. 

One cannot think of Jim without mentioning his love for his mother Beulah M. Pepper. She proceeded him in death only a few years ago at the age of 103. Jim was Nana’s primary caretaker and she dearly loved him. Fourth of July on Nana’s property at Angle lake was a favorite holiday attended by Jim and Judy’s motor-homing friends Betty and Larry McKinney. Blue ribbons hang in recognition for the best dock decorations. Jim has been fishing Angle lake since the days when it was covered with old growth forest.

Jim also provided end-of-life care for his brother Ray (Pep), and his mother-in-law, Elaine Knopp, but his crowning role shines in the dedication he offered to his wife Judy. Judy has been in a slow decline from dementia for the past five years. In the last days of his life, Jim laughed at his new career as house-husband and gained appreciation for the feminine role usually carried by Judy. In finding blessings in Jim’s passing, we share relief that he did not suffer the heartbreak of losing his beloved wife. Jim’s death has necessitated professional memory care for Judy. She is now home at Aegis Living in West Seattle. Visitors are welcomed, it is a beautiful facility located at 4700 SW Admiral Way, Seattle, WA 98116.

Jim was a vivacious man. It would seem that at 77 with no medical issues, he would have many years left. His sudden passing is still a shock to those who love him. We take solace in the words of Kahlil Gibran (1923) “When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight”. 

Please join Jim’s family for burgers, ice cream, and stories in celebrating our love for this great man: 2:30pm on Sunday, June 23rd, at The Cove-Normandy Park Community Club located at 1500 SW Shorebrook Drive, Normandy Park, WA 98166. 

"Donations may be made in memory of Jim to www.alzheimersprevention.org"


Gary Owen
Henry, SD
Jul 27, 2019

I worked with Jim as a fellow manager starting for

Westinghouse, Eastern Electric, and Grand Eagle.

He not only was a very good guy, but also a great

manager. I always thought that Jim had the perfect

mix of discipline (when needed), but great compassion

for his people.

Gary Owen

Darlelne and Lars Anderson
Rainier, Wa
Jul 12, 2019

Judy and family, So sorry and shocked to hear of Jim's passing. My nephew Steve and his sister Marti let us know. They lived across the street form Judy's parents in West Seattle. I'm so glad that they forwarded the information to us. Jim and Judy were a special couple and we met every so often for dinner, usually in Tacoma to catch up with each other. We will miss our dinner get togethers. He was a great guy and loved his wife and family very much. Judy take care, we think of you often. With our love and deepest sympathy.

Darlene and Lars Anderson

Teri Svedahl
Seattle, WA
Jun 24, 2019

Julie and Jeff, simply put, I loved your Dad.

My childhood would not have been complete without Jim and Judy welcoming me as one of their own. I am sorry the years took some of us down separate and distant roads. But I can honestly say, stories of Jim and his kindness and that big smile he had for everyone have reached the ears and hearts of people he's never met because I have shared my memories with so many people over the years. He was truly a wonderful and kind man - I can still hear his laugh - and my heart goes out to you all.

Thank you for sharing him with all of us.

K. Williams
Natchez, MS
Jun 11, 2019

I am very sorry for your loss. May memories of your loved one help comfort you. And may the God of all Comfort supply you with strength to endure. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

Julia Hernandez
Chicago, IL
Apr 18, 2019

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Please accept my sincere condolences. I personally know the loss of a loved one, and the pain can seem overwhelming. However, I found comfort in the Bible's promise for the future (Acts 24:15) I hope this helps bring some comfort in this time of sorrow.

Scott Braun
Kalispell, MT
Apr 14, 2019

Hey Jeff~Heard about your Dad. I am really sorry. You know both your folks were like parents to be when we were young. I guess we are all going down that path of passing away, but it does not make it any easier In the last couple years, I've had more people close to me pass, and it sucks big time. I try not to grieve to much(easy for me to say) because I try to think what all of them who passed would want us and people who cared for them to do or act, and I'm pretty sure they all especially Mr. Pepper would want us not to be sad and grieving. So I try to think about all the good times I had and what I learned from him. It's a long list. some day I hope you call and we can talk about some of those times(him being our little league coach, helping us make our go cart faster than hell with those steel axles, teaching me to water sky, fishing, he couldn't believe us putting ketchup on our fried eggs in the morning, there is so much more.) Sometimes memories is all we have about somebody and I have a lot about the Pepper family.

Thinking about him today, I found myself smiling about the past as I notice tears running down my cheeks. the one thing I can say is I am proud to have know your Dad.

He is a great man. Hope Julie is doing ok. Take care buddy. I'm miles away but if there is any thing we can do let us know.,.

Scott Braun

Dick and June B
Auburn, Wa
Apr 10, 2019

Jim you are dearly missed by so many. Your laugh, your smile. You were our daughters guardian angle and still are. Dear Judy, and family we send our love and prayers.

Love Dick and June.

Mike Mcgahan
Kent, Washington
Apr 6, 2019

I sure miss Jim, as I followed him into the Treasurer job. Always positive with a smile. Prayers.

Burien, Wa
Apr 2, 2019

My heart is broken over the loss of my good buddy Jim. He was alway there for me. He was more than my neighbor, he was my guardian angel, always looking out for me. I will miss his stories and his advice. He was a kind and good man. Judy, Julie and Jeff my prayers and heart goes out to you. I love you guys.

Love Shelly

Don Masoero, PC - Des Moines Yacht Club
Kent, WA
Mar 21, 2019

Nadine and I send our prayers.

Marv and Ginnty Seabrands
Auburn, Wa
Mar 21, 2019

We are so sorry to hear about the loss of Jim. He truly will be missed and we are praying for your family and Judy. God bless you all. Love and prayers Marv and Ginny

Dave Prenslow
Burien , Wa
Mar 20, 2019

Condolences to the family and friends of the peppers.

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