James Van Drimmelen passed away on February 24th, 2021 at the Madrona House on Bainbridge Island. Jim was born in Newton, Iowa to Robert and Hazel Van Drimmelen on 11/12/1926. He grew up on a small farm and graduated from Newton High School. His senior year he joined the U.S. Navy during WWII, and upon his discharge, he attended Iowa State University, graduating with honors with a degree in Architecture. In 1949, he met his future wife Arlene while working on a farm in Lynden, WA. They married in 1950 and settled in Philadelphia where his daughter Anne was born. He then took a job in Omaha, Nebraska where his son Jon followed. As fate would happen, in 1956 the owner of the company asked for volunteers to move to a new office in Seattle. His hand shot up and the rest is history. He settled in Magnolia and was told by people real estate was cheap on the Island. He started looking there and bought a house in Rolling Bay from KJ Johannson. He loved the Island and said it was one of his best choices. He worked for various firms until establishing his own company, Facilities Planning. He planned hospitals, labs and hotels and traveled the country and the world. He retired in 1991 and started to enjoy his favorite hobbies, woodworking and Japanese gardening. Arlene passed in 2004 and Jim continued to live in Rolling Bay until 2016. He then moved to a condo, assisted living, and finally memory care.
He is survived by his son Jon and daughter Anne, grandchildren Brad (Dana), Todd, Jake and Kyle, as well as son-in-law Jeff Ross and great-grandchild Harrison. He is also leaving behind his sister Blanche and various nieces and nephews scattered across the country.
Jim was a beloved father and grandfather and will be deeply missed. His memory is best summed up in the following paragraph written by one of his grandchildren:
“RIP Grandpa Van Drimmelen. From popcorn volcanoes, custom built Brio train parts, and increasingly more intricate wooden boats and other things made in your basement workshop, to koi ponds, backyard chickens, and epic battles with neighbourhood crows, to 4th of July fireworks, a zip-line, and learning to drive stick with your lawn tractor in the orchard, to many hours of adventures on the beach, napkin sketches at restaurants, tales of traveling the world, cozy fires in the fireplace, your piano playing in the background, and baths in your giant tile bathtub, there was never a dull moment in the Van Drimmelen house.
Your warmth, quirky sense of humour, artistry in many things, wisdom, and occasional stubborn and somehow endearing grumpiness will be missed. (We know exactly how to weed baby tears, cut up apples for applesauce, and load the dishwasher now!) Give our love and say hello to Grandma for us.”
Our family would like to thank all who cared for him in his last days and especially Jeff Oens and David Adams who provided so much for him in his last years.