James Grad had heart for volunteering
James Wallace Grad, born March 11, 1930, in Aberdeen, passed away on Dec, 17, 2012, in Renton, Wash., after a long life dedicated to his family, friends and the service of others.
Jim joined the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. His time in the Navy allowed him to see the world. He spent time stationed on each of the Iowa-class battleships—the Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, and New Jersey. After the Navy he returned to South Dakota where he married Caroline Shillingstad. Together they moved to the Seattle area and Jim went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad as an engineer.
During his long career he was a highly active member of Peer Support, a program dedicated to promoting safety on the railroad and helping his colleagues cope in the aftermath of traumatic accidents in the workplace. While with the Union Pacific and after his retirement, Jim was a strong supporter and advocate for his union, the United Transportation Union (UTU). In 2010 he was honored with a lifetime award for volunteerism from the UTU.
Jim’s volunteerism was also generously spread throughout his community. He could be found donating time and energy to help others through the Catholic Church as a Fourth-Degree Knight of Columbus. His charity also extended to dedicated work with the Kent Food Bank and the Kent Men’s Homeless Shelter where he offered not only assistance, but compassion and dignity to those facing hard times. He helped raise funds to feed the men of the homeless shelter and could often be found cooking breakfast for them at the area churches.
Upon retirement he committed more time to his volunteerism, he followed Mariners baseball, enjoyed his grandchildren, and splitting his time between his homes in Washington and Trail City.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Caroline; their five children and their families; daughter, Laurie (Kurt) Johnson, grandchildren, Stacie and Tyler, and great-grandson, Anthony; daughter, Carol Nave and grandchildren, Christopher, Brandon, Alexis, and Danielle; son, Dennis (Lori) Grad and grandchildren, Katie, Ireti and Cameron; son, Darrel (Pam) Grad and grandchildren, Lindsey and Samantha; and son, James.
He was preceded in death by son-in-law Greg Nave, mother, Agnes, and father, Alois.
Jim will be buried at Tahoma National Cemetery. A memorial will be held on Jan. 14, 2013, at St. John the Baptist in Covington, Wash. In lieu of flowers, remembrances in Jim’s name can be sent to Kent Food Bank.