James Wendlandt

James Richard Wendlandt

1922 - 2018

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Obituary of James Richard Wendlandt

Jim Wendlandt – July 17, 1922-July 27, 2018

Husband, Father, Grandfather & Great Grandfather

James, or Jim, of Forest Grove, was born in Keokuk, Iowa, and grew up in Burlington, Iowa.  He worked on building the Alaska Highway and served in the Navy during WWII.  His unit landed on Okinawa, Japan as the war ended.  His final service was in Japan and Guam.  He met LizAnn, his wife of more than 65 years, at the Mt. Hood lodge of the Oregon mountaineering organization, the Mazamas.  He says he liked her Boston accent. They hiked on the Matterhorn, and hiked, skied, climbed and canoed across the country. He recalled hiking on trails with bells on their packs to alert the grizzly bears. They drove the entire Alaska Highway when it was mostly gravel. They hiked out of the Grand Canyon on Christmas day.  They visited all 50 states (mostly by car or train),  most provinces of Canada, and many countries in Europe.  He and LizAnn were long time members of the Mazamas and avid Dixieland Jazz fans.

Jim always liked the outdoors and adventure.  Before meeting LizAnn, he took flying lessons, road his motorcycle in Colorado, cycled across Europe, worked as a fish can catcher in Alaska at age 17, and later worked in the interior of Alaska with the management contractor of the Alaska highway.  He also summited ten mountain peaks in the Northwest and Mt. Whitney, earning the Mazamas’ Cascade Peaks award.    

He encouraged his daughters to be adventurous and enjoy the outdoors.   When the family was visiting Sequoia National Park, Jim urged both girls to join him outside their cabin to watch a bear demolish an ice chest. Just before the Jantzen Beach amusement park closed, Jim waited in line to take his daughters on the roller coaster.  Wendy didn't measure the required height, so she had to stay behind.  He couldn’t have been prouder that she later went on to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro and trek to Everest Base Camp. Many, many family camping and day trips to the beautiful Oregon coast resulted in Nancy making the Oregon Coast her home. 

Jim was completing an MBA at UC-Berkeley and working in the San Francisco financial district when he became Oregon manager for Transamerica Premier Insurance Company where he stayed for 33 years.  His work afforded him the opportunity to visit every corner of Oregon.  Growing up during the Great Depression, he liked to tell about his high school days when he got up before 5AM, delivered his Des Moines Register route, then worked at a working man’s restaurant, Pearl Coons, 6-8AM and then went to school, back again to serve lunch, back to school.  At 4:30PM, he delivered the afternoon paper, the Burlington Gazette. He then worked, again, from 6-8PM at Pearl Coons.  At the restaurant, he made .25/hour. The WPA workers he served were making .40/hour.  He once wrote down: “Pearl’s had a horseshoe counter - no tables. At noon we would get soup at all places, cover the hot soup at at noon the whistle at Murray Iron Works would blow and all these workers would come in at once.  There was a choice for 25 cents. We had four items and workers would have me repeat them as they liked to hear me say “roast beef, spareribs, ham hocks, etc.  And then I would entertain them by saying “ham, lamb, ram, bull, beef and bear.” He was still able to recall this just two weeks ago at the request of daughter, Nancy.  Pearl Coons never closed. They had no key. 

Jim is survived by his six "girls.”  His girls were his pride and joy: wife LizAnn (nee Elizabeth Ann Burnham), Forest Grove; daughters: Nancy Brown, Netarts, Wendy Wendlandt, Los Angeles (Cliff Latimer); granddaughters : Angele Kirk (Anthony) and Shirley Brown; great granddaughter, Emery Kirk.  

His brothers, Walter and Charles pre-deceased him. Walter Survived the D-Day landing but was killed in the invasion of Germany. The story of Walter’s death was told in this Oregonian article:  https://www.oregonlive.com/beaverton/index.ssf/2015/05/for_memorial_day_wwii_veteran.html


Military Honors and Private Family Graveside Services

Willamette National Cemetery
11801 SE Mt Scott Blvd.
Portland, Oregon, United States