Tuesday, November 24, 2009

James MacMillan Piper

James MacMillan Piper
March 9, 1923 - November 18, 2009

Grandpa's obituary:

James MacMillan Piper passed away on November 18, 2009 with his family by his side.

Jim was born in Spokane, WA on March 9, 1923. He moved to Seattle and finished his senior year on Broadway High School. During his senior year, he got a job at Swedish Hospital, where he ran the elevator. Since he needed a place to live, he slept in the mattress room at the hospital.

He was a soldier in the 84th Infantry and served our country in WWII and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Upon his return from the war, Jim attended the University of Washington, where he met his first wife, Jackie Elliott. Jim graduated with a degree in Zoology and was a member of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity.

After college, Jim worked for various companies in the transportation and equipment industries. He quickly developed relationships with the major railroads by salvaging cargo from rail derailments, which then led him to found MacMillan-Piper in 1969. Under his leadership, he built MacMillan-Piper into the largest transloader and container freight station in the Pacific Northwest. Today, MacMillan-Piper is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in global trade.

On his daily trips to work from Bainbridge to Seattle, Jim noticed the homeless that were present on the Seattle streets. He took note of them in the mornings on his way to work and again on his way home in the evenings and he knew he wanted to help. He got support from Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge, and Jim and a small group began handing out sack lunches to the homeless. His efforts grew into donations of clothing and blankets and hot dinners. People outside the church began to help as well. The program "Streets of Seattle" continues today with many people lending a hand from the Seattle area.

Jim and his wife Zona, made their home on Bainbridge Island, as well as their most recent residence at Aljoya on Mercer Island. Together, Jim and Zona were founding members of Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island. Over the years, Jim made many lasting friendships playing golf at Wing Point Golf and Country Club on Bainbridge. Jim and his family were enthusiastic skiers, and Jim had many happy memories of skiing up at Stevens Pass.

Jim was a man of many gifts. It gave him great pleasure to quietly do things for others. He made friends easily with people of all ages, and his choice to treat all people with dignity and respect brought out the best in everyone he met. He had a terrific sense of humor. He not only enjoyed telling jokes, but he had perfected the fine art of "pulling your leg." His love and appreciation for music led him to take violin lessons as a boy, and in his late 60's he took mandolin lessons.

Jim passed away hearing the voices of his family as they joined together at his bedside to sing his favorite song, "Edelweiss."

He is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Zona, and their children: son Jim Piper and wife Suzie, daughter Mary and husband Steve Diederichs, daughter Sue and husband Dave Lindsey, daughter Janet and husband Tim Jorve, son J.T. Kearney and wife Tamme Bosler, son Jack Piper and wife Jinks, and daughter Patty and husband Steve Stivala.

Along with his 7 children, and his many years running MacMillan-Piper, Jim was most proud of his 14 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island, Saturday, December 5th at 2:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Bainbridge Island Fire Dept., 9985 Madison Ave. NE Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, or Grace Episcopal Church, 8595 NE Day Road Bainbridge Island, WA 98110; or Operations Nightwatcch. P.O. Box 21181, Seattle, WA 98111.

Grandpa ... you will be missed.

I will show my love for you and honor your memory
by how I live my life.

I love you.

1 comment:

Kelly M said...

Lisa, thanks for sharing this. It sure sounds like your Grandpa had a wonderful life. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!