James “Jim” William Fencl, age 75, died June 25, 2017 from complications related to acute myeloid leukemia. Following his diagnosis in January of 2014, Jim traveled, spent time with his family, and made many new friendships. He took classes, won a chili cook off, tried yoga, and even endured a massage. Jim spent his final days at the Whatcom Hospice House and passed away comfortably in the presence of his daughter Heather and sister Gretchen.
Jim was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota on September 17, 1941 to parents Virgil and Helen Fencl. He grew up with his beloved sister Gretchen. The family relocated to the Seattle, Washington area in the early 1940s and Jim graduated from Evergreen High School in 1959. After studying at the University of Washington, Jim found a position with P&G Associates, a manufacturer’s representative agency. Jim and his first wife, Linda Hughes, married in 1964. Their only child Heather was born soon after. Jim served in the Army Reserves and was honorably discharged in 1968. Jim and his family then relocated to Vancouver, Washington, where he continued to work for P&G Associates and went on to co-own the Berg Agency, a wholesale commercial lighting company located in Portland, Oregon.
After Jim and Linda divorced, Jim remarried to Jeannine Lumbard in June of 1979. The union with Jeannine broadened Jim’s family considerably through the addition of Jeannine’s six children: Steve, Lola, Dirk, Paula, Doug, and Jeanne. Jim and Jeannine’s home was the warm and inviting site for many family celebrations and holidays. Together Jim and Jeannine welcomed their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Steve and his wife Callene brought their children: Bethany, Jeff who brought his children Abby and Jake, and Andrea who brought her children Rory, and Becket. Lola’s son Brad brought his children Olivia and Kate. Doug, along with former wife Linda, brought their children Jenna, and Lauren who recently welcomed her daughter, Quinn. Jeanne, along with husband Eric brought Nico. Dirk and Paula brought their respective spouses Andy and Susan who were equally cherished by Jim and Jeannine.
After retiring Jim and Jeannine relocated to Bellingham, Washington to be closer to Jim’s daughter Heather, son-in-law Evan, and grandchild Alta. Jim volunteered at the Pearson Air Museum and the American Red Cross, and dedicated himself to caring for Jeannine in her final years of failing health. Jim lost Jeannine in 2015, after 36 years of happy marriage.
Jim was a loving and committed father, husband, grandfather, brother, and friend. He was universally loved and well regarded by his many friends and relations, even those who knew him only in passing. He was always ready to lend a hand with a home project, offer an opinion about an automobile, attend a child’s play, or drive…. anywhere. He will be remembered for his ready smile, adventurous spirit, and the love of a good gin martini (among other libations).
Please join us for Jim’s memorial service on Monday August 7, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at the Lairmont Manor in Bellingham, Washington. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Cancer Center in Bellingham, whose care was beyond our expectations and added to Jim’s life in many ways. Donations can be designated for the Cancer Center or for Research and sent to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation - 2901 Squalicum Pkwy. Bellingham, WA 98225.