James A. Medina (Jim) passed away on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, at his home in Olympia after a hard-fought battle with leukemia. Jim was a loving and dedicated husband, father, and grandfather.
Jim was born in Seguin, Texas, on Dec. 29, 1950. He married the love of his life, Patricia Higgins, on Nov. 19, 1977, in Spokane. Together they raised three wonderful sons – Stephen, Bryan, and Eric. He also had two grandsons whom he cherished – Aiden and Micah. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Theodore and Ramona Medina, and a sister, Leilani Pottratz. He is survived by two brothers and a sister – Theodore and Thomas Medina, and LaDonna Browell.
Although he was dedicated to his professional career, Jim’s true reward was his family, which he saw as the foundation of his life. He lived life to its fullest, enjoying outdoor activities like camping, boating, and water skiing. He was an avid Cougar and Seahawks fan and loved watching a variety of sporting events with family and friends. His son Eric said that one of his favorite memories of his dad was on his 18th birthday when his dad took him to a Seattle Sonics basketball game. As they were leaving, Eric mentioned he had never been to the Space Needle. His dad took him there after the game, and Eric has never forgotten that very special time with his dad.
Jim came from a diverse background. His father was a Spanish-speaking Hispanic from Texas and his mother was an Asian Pacific Islander who was born and raised in Kahuku, Hawaii. Jim’s father spent his career in the military, which allowed Jim to experience life in different parts of the country as he grew up. Jim attended several schools during his formative years and eventually earned his degree from Washington State University. He also studied law at Gonzaga University in Spokane.
Jim spent his entire professional career in service to the State of Washington and was a strong advocate for people in communities of color. He began his career as a field investigator for the Human Rights Commission in Spokane in the 1980s, helping in the fight against discrimination. He also served as the Executive Director of the Office of Women and Minorities in Business Enterprise, where he helped ensure equal opportunity for small businesses owned by women, minorities, and disadvantaged groups. His career included working for the Department of Licensing and the Department of Transportation, reviewing contracts for compliance with civil rights issues.
Jim will be deeply missed by his family and the many friends he touched during his lifetime. In expressing her loss, his wife, Patti, said: “What I will miss most is not having my best friend and soulmate to talk to. He always listened and would give me his opinion whether I wanted it or not! He was a kind and loving husband and a great father to our three sons. I will miss him and cherish the memories, but I know he will always be in my heart.” (end)
A memorial will be held for Jim at noon on Jan. 14, 2016, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 1208 11th Ave S.E. in Olympia. All are welcome to attend.