James Holman, 65, died Jan. 27, 2014, in his Portland, Ore., home. With him were his wife, Kristi St. Amant, son Wyeth, daughter and son-in-law Kira and Sean, and sister Judy.
A public memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, at The Gorge Pavilion of Marine Park in Cascade Locks.
James was born in 1948 in Minot, N.D., to Reynold “Bud” and Myrtle Holman. When he was 9, the family moved to Cascade Locks. James graduated from Cascade Locks High School in 1966. Over time, working in jobs as varied as forestry and resume-writing, he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.
He became a career journalist, with stints as reporter, photographer or editor at The Daily Astorian, The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash., and the San Diego Union-Tribune in California. He was news editor at The Register-Guard in Eugene and science editor at The Oregonian in Portland, where he ended his career but not his many interests.
He continued to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, to hike the Columbia River Gorge, to walk on the beach, to take photographs, and to read prodigiously. Long divorced, he searched for a friend from high school days, found her on the East Coast and, in a storybook ending, they married in 2008. James earned TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification from the UO before he and his wife became Peace Corps volunteers in 2010.
“Life flows on riverlike, and one must learn as best one can to navigate the shallows, run the treacherous rapids and plumb the deceptive pools,” James wrote in a forward to a book he finished days before he died. The book is based on dozens of emails he wrote to family and friends during the couple’s three years of teaching English in Romania, 2010-13.
Diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in August, James told a friend that he “decided to skip anger and denial and go straight to acceptance — not the acceptance of oh, whatever. The acceptance of the probable, and a turning of my resources toward how to face it gracefully.”
As he reassured his family and many friends, he had lived a good, full life and could now be present in the moment and grateful for each day that he was blessed to wake up to and enjoy.
James’ parents and brother Wayne Holman preceded him in death. Survivors include his wife, Kristi, son Wyeth Holman, daughter and son-in-law Kira and Sean Williams, stepchildren Natalie and Justin Kinsey, sister Judy Willing, a niece and a nephew.
James donated his body for medical education in Oregon. Contributions in James’ memory may be made to the James and Wayne Holman Scholarship Fund, in care of Paul Lindberg, executive director, Hood River Education Foundation, 1009 Eugene St., Hood River, OR 97031
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