Dec. 19, 1929 – March 1, 2013
James was born in Ingells, Ark. to Elsie Mae and Howard Harrod. He was the seventh of eight children: Mildred, Willa Mae, Otto, Marie, Doris, Jesse, James and Murel. His early years were spent working on the family farm with his siblings. In 1947, he joined the Navy and after his tour of duty ended, he followed his brother Jesse to California. He quickly found work as a gas station attendant and automotive mechanic, wearing the signature pristine white uniform – this marked the beginning of his professional career as an automotive specialist.
He eventually settled with his blended family in Crescenta Valley where he and Mary, his wife of 48 years, raised their eight children: Mickie, Vickie, Renee, David, Jon, Ann Marie, Jerry and Angela. He went on to work as a certified automotive technician for 35 years at the Hauter Ford dealership in Montrose.
After retiring, James and Mary traveled to France, Italy, Greece and Hawaii. They also spent many summers at their vacation home on the Arkansas River, fishing, listening to country western music, entertaining family and friends and hosting neighborhood fish fries. He enjoyed square dancing, bowling, playing golf, fishing and camping. His favorite place to be was with his family and friends. His warm smile always lit up the room at social and family activities. He loved watching Dallas, western movies, and a good football game – “Go Razorbacks!”
James was actively involved in the lives of his eight children, 13 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews who gathered once a year at the Harrod family reunion. He was never too busy to respond to a call for help, showing up with his signature smile and words of wisdom. Grandpa was known for his silly sayings, often repeated by his children and grandchildren: Michelle, Danielle, Gustavo, Christina, Brandy, James, Megan, Mark, Tina, Bradley, Carrie Ann, Clint and Jessi. His most frequently repeated quote is, “Where’d you get your driver’s license, in a Cracker Jack box?”
James passed away in his sleep at age 83 at New Vista Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sunland from respiratory complications. James loved his family and friends and was loved in return. His genuine love, tender heart, and quirky sense of humor will be deeply missed and never forgotten by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. His spirit will live on through our shared stories and laughter.
Please visit www.CrippenMortuary.com to view a Memorial Tribute and to light a candle for James.