James D. Wagenschutz was born on February 22nd, 1931 in Plymouth, Michigan to Carl and Hazel Wagenschutz. For many of his childhood years he lived on a farm with his family, and he had many fond memories of his time there. He attended Plymouth High School, where he was on the track and field team. He obtained a B.S. in engineering from Michigan State in 1954, where he also played on the football team. He then served in the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant in the signal corps. A few years later he moved to California where he met his future wife, Jackie Deck. He attended The University of Santa Clara, where he earned an M.S. in engineering at night while working at Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation during the day. They had one child, Karla. He had a long, rewarding career in the aerospace industry. He was athletic much of his life, and he ran in the Boston Marathon in 1983.
He was a kind and generous person who liked to help others in need. He spent many of his years of retirement with his daughter in Milwaukie, Oregon, where he was active in the local Meals on Wheels program. He also liked shopping for and donating toys to children at the holidays. He enjoyed reading and writing, particularly about the existence of prehistoric life forms. He and his daughter spent many happy hours visiting bookstores and farmers markets, watching movies, taking walks, playing games, and gardening.
He passed away peacefully on the morning of December 11th, 2019 in Milwaukie, Oregon. He is survived by his daughter, Karla; brother, Robert Wagenschutz; sister, Katherine Hall; and many nieces and nephews. He was loved dearly and will be missed more than words can convey.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in his honor to Toys for Tots at www.toysfortots.org.
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Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
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