He graduated from Pierce High School in 1962 and went on to complete his degree in Agronomy at UC Davis, where he was a member of the Theta Xi fraternity. He married the love of his life, Marilyn, in 1967 after a 7-year courtship. He served his country in the California Army National Guard from 1967-1973 while launching his lifelong career as a farmer in Colusa and Yolo Counties. Jim and Marilyn began their family in 1969, and had three lovely daughters, Alysa, Lori and Kim. He had extensive involvement in civic and industry-related service, including serving as a trustee of the Colusa Unified School board for 12 years; director of Farmer’s Rice Cooperative for 14 years; director of Reclamation District 108 for 8 years; elder and deacon for First Presbyterian Church of Colusa; chair of the Groundwater Commission for 13 years, and director of the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundations Rice Experiment Station, where he served for 34 years. Jim received the 2010 California Rice Industry award, and the USA Rice Federation Lifetime Achievement award in 2012, one of the greatest honors in his professional career. He was also a private pilot for 39 years, and loved to fly. One of the greatest joys in Jim’s life was the significant relationships he enjoyed with each one of his grandchildren. He loved taking them on adventures, including flying in his airplane with them, trips to Disneyland, Sea Ranch and Maui, as well as fishing, target practice, driving the 4-wheeler, and sharing his love of farming with them. He also loved to plan trips with Marilyn and his grandchildren, sharing the beauty of creation and his love of travel with them. Jim and Marilyn explored all the continents except Antarctica, including three mission trips to Malawi, Africa.
He is survived by his wife of 46 1/2 years, Marilyn Erdman, his sister, Mary Jeanette Cook, daughters Alysa Meyer (Rob), Lori Carlson (Steve), Kim Gallagher (Pat), and grandchildren Courtney Meyer (19), Lauren Carlson (16), Emily Meyer (15), Rachel Carlson (14), Ellie Carlson (12), Sean Gallagher (11), Julia Carlson (10), and Alexander James Gallagher (8). He is also survived by many significant friends, since Jim had an ability to connect with people from all walks of life in meaningful ways and make them feel special.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Saturday, July 12 at 10:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa, with a luncheon following at the Erdman Ranch House, 8661 Ceres Avenue, Knights Landing (on Highway 45 south of Grimes).
In lieu of flowers, Jim requested donations be made to Colusa First Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 623, Colusa, CA 95932, or to Colon Cancer Alliance, Inc., 1025 Vermont Ave. NW Ste. 1066, Washington DC, 20005, (www.ccalliance.org).
Arrangements are under the direction of McNary-Moore Funeral Service FD-410 www.mcnarymoorefuneralservice.com