James Rease Obituary (1954 – 2021) – Resident of Walnut Creek, CA

James William Rease
James ReaseCole
Resident of Walnut Creek
Jim passed away on December 20, 2021 doing what he loved most: LIVING. In fact, he was out recycling when he suffered a severe heart attack. As an environmentalist, he was a responsible recycler, but Jim’s passion was, plain and simple, LIFE.
Jim was born to Doris and Willard Rease on April 6, 1954 in San Diego. Her father, a Navy test pilot, was tragically killed when Jim was a baby, leaving Doris with three young children: Roxanne, Michelle and Jim. Doris married Howard Cole who brought her daughter Pamela into the family. Jim gained another sister when Doris and Howard had Susie. The family lived in Walnut Creek and El Sobrante before settling in Concord where Dodie and Howard founded Cole’s Interiors in 1969.
After graduating from Concord High School in 1972, Jim and his friends Roger Epperson and Bob Doyle started the Botanical Society under the guidance of mentor Martin Shea. They raised environmental awareness by starting a recycling program, hiking the hills of Contra Costa, and raising money to save Mount Diablo with concerts by local bands.
Jim started working with his family at Cole’s Interiors at the age of 15 and proved he had a creative gift in interior design. The business became Jim’s property in 1989 and flourished under his leadership. His many clients will miss his wise advice and shrewd eye. He cared deeply about the wonderful relationships he had built through his very personal approach.
In 1987 Jim married Melissa Meyers and they had sons Zachary (1990) and Morgan (1993). Jim loved his family, who were blessed with many shared experiences, including a great late summer vacation and hosting Thanksgiving for the extended family. For these last memories, the family is extremely grateful. He was so proud of his sons and adored those they chose as partners. He particularly loved being “Jimpa” for his two granddaughters. Just a day before he passed, he asked how old they had to be before he could take them to Disneyland, something he was looking forward to.
Jim found the greatest joy playing with his “friends” Roger, Bob, Ricky, Stephen and Rod. There were regular trips in a rented motorhome for car racing in Leguna Seca, camping trips to Tahoe and the coast, and for over 20 years the annual Kona Coast trip to Hawaii. All of these adventures were enriched with Jim’s musical playlist, thought-provoking puns, childish pranks, potty humor, laughs and love. Of all his friends, Roger Epperson was truly his kindred spirit and sidekick for 40 years. The two shared many interests, including art, antiques, music, girls, vintage cars, and the great outdoors. Rogers’ sudden passing in 2008 was a devastating blow to Jim from which he never fully recovered. We know they are together now.
Jim had a huge love of music both as a fan and as a drummer in his classic rock buddy band The Repercussions, a legend in his mind. He was a great concert winger. Not only was he willing to attend any concert suggestion any night (or weekend: he loved the Kate Wolf Festival), but he also offered to drive. He was perpetually stricken with FOMO (fear of missing out). It was also his habit to give a glowing review of any concert he attended, so much did he appreciate the talent and dedication to the craft and art of music.
Positive and compassionate, Jim helped those in need and those whom others had abandoned. He never said a discouraging word about anyone. Jim was just a nice nice guy. When his mother was asked how she raised such a gem, she replied “Jim was always just a good boy”.
An almost surreal highlight in Jim’s life was the opportunity and honor to be a “ball boy” for his favorite team, the SF Giants, not once, but twice! He looked like a natural in black and orange at the ballpark.
A longtime Kiwanis member, Jim was active in the group and was the current president of the Walnut Creek club. He was very proud of the perfect diligence of his life.
Jim is survived by his wife Missy, son Zachary (Dannon), son Morgan (Michaela) and by two beautiful granddaughters Andy and Kit. He is also survived by his sisters Roxie, Shelly and Pam, as well as many longtime friends and extended family. He is predeceased by his half-sister Susie.
Please consider contributing to Jim’s memory at Save Mount Diablo or the East Bay Regional Park District where Jim enjoyed hiking with friends.
Benefits are pending.

View the online memorial for James William Rease

Published by East Bay Times on February 6, 2022.


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