James Heath Avery

November 17, 1941 – April 3, 2019


On April 3rd, in the comfort of his own home in Sandpoint, Idaho while surrounded by his loved ones, James (Jim) Avery peacefully succumbed to the cancer that had relentlessly pursued him for the past 15 years.  

A devoted husband and soulmate of 28 years to his wife, Sue, and beloved father to his three children and two step-children, Jim had a passion for life, family and friends.  However, his passions did not end there.  Stepping into his den you were surrounded by all that he loved.  Set amongst the proudly displayed photos of his loved ones in the cabinets that wrapped around the room, were trains of all sorts; a sure testimony to his love of the locomotive. Several antique cameras, passed down from his father, decorated the shelves protected by a set of glass doors while the newest electronics neatly filled the desk where he spent much of his time.  Finally, adorning the walls and side tables were images and castings of moose well known to the area.  His obsession with these amazing creatures that visited his yard, with whom he occasionally came eye to eye with through the window of his den, would eventually lead to his nickname and signature sign-off… “Moose”. 

Born November 17, 1941 in Caldwell, Idaho to Erma Ruth (Moss) and Larry Heath Brown, Jim began his young life with his older sister, Charlotte.  At age 7, Jim’s then divorced mother remarried and two brothers, Don and Fred, were born to the sibling group.  In his adult years, Jim was pleasantly surprised to learn of three half-sisters, Roberta, Joanne & Michelle, whom he happily met and welcomed to his family.

Upon graduating high school in Idaho, Jim moved to California to attend college. In his early 20’s he moved to Hawaii to work in hotel management where he met his first wife, Sheri.  The two married and moved back to Santa Cruz, CA where they started their family with a daughter followed by twin sons.  As social circles and family needs changed, Jim and Sheri moved north to Eureka where they spent two years and later further north to Port Townsend, WA where Jim’s mother and two brothers had settled with their families.  He and Sheri opened Kitchen Kove in the uptown district of Port Townsend, later relocating to where it currently sits today, still a kitchen store, under new ownership and name.  In order to meet the financial needs of a family of five, Jim took employment in the bag plant at the Port Townsend Paper Mill in the early 80’s.  He eventually sold the kitchen store but explored a new role as a volunteer firefighter/EMT for the Chimacum Fire Station.  Jim eventually became their first full-time employee, proudly serving his community as EMT Captain.   In time, he and Sheri found themselves going their separate ways.  Shortly thereafter, Jim met the love of his life, Sue Brown, a fellow volunteer firefighter/EMT who happened to be responding to the same call that day for a downed plane.  The two were married on Valentine’s Day in 1992 at the Chimacum Fire Station.  Jim gladly accepted the role of step-father to Sue’s son and daughter thus beginning their life together.

In 2003 Jim was diagnosed with his first bout of stage 4 cancer.  After three years of rigorous treatments, he thankfully went into remission.  This bout unfortunately resulted in Jim’s retirement from the paper mill and fire station, but also led he and Sue to realize it was time to fulfill their shared dream of moving to Sandpoint, Idaho.  In 2006 they moved and settled into their forever home on Louis Ln.  Amidst planes coming and going from a small airfield that nearly sits in their backyard; trains whistling throughout the day from the tracks that wind through the area, and the moose that set their two dogs into barking frenzies while dining on the couples flowers and trees, Jim and Sue found their paradise.  It was here Jim came face to face with yet another bout of cancer.  Sue willingly resumed her familiar role, patiently and lovingly tending to his medical needs, running him to and from doctors and treatments almost daily.  Hopeful that he had once again defeated the persistent visitor, he was eventually delivered the disheartening news of what would be his final bout with the disease that plagued his body.  

Four days before his passing, Jim enjoyed the company of six of his ten grandchildren, a wine toast, and lots of laughter as he sat with them on his back porch.  On his final day, in the living room of his beloved home, Jesus orchestrated the most peaceful passing, well deserving of a man who valiantly fought against a relentless disease for so long.  Surrounded by his wife and three children as he peacefully slept, Jim quietly exhaled one last time as a nearby train simultaneously blew it’s whistle, as if saying goodbye for him to all who could hear the familiar rumble along the tracks just down from Louis Ln.

Jim is survived by his wife, Sue Avery; Daughter, Jami (Frank) Trafton; Sons: Jason (Sarah) Avery and Jody Avery; Step-Daughter, Stacy (Bo) Emswiler; ten grandchildren; Brothers: Don (Debi) Avery, Fred (Nicki) Avery; Sisters: Charlotte (Homi) Baroumand, Roberta Cavalli, Michelle (Keith) Lawson and Joanne (Craig) Adams.

He was preceded in death by his step-son, Robert Brown and his brother-in-law, Ben Cavalli.

At Jim’s request, there will be no service.  A private family gathering will be held, at a later date, under the railroad trestle on Lake Pend Orielle in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Special heartfelt gratitude is extended to Bonner Community Hospice for the gentle, loving care they bestowed upon Jim and all of his family during such a sensitive time.


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I was very sad to hear that Jim had passed. I worked with him many moons ago at Longs in Santa Cruz. Then was surprised to have him walk into Safeway in Port Townsend one day when I worked there. I always enjoyed working with him and our visits when I would see him around PT. My thoughts are with Sue and all his children, I know he will be missed.

Thursday, May 16, 2019