He died of complications from pneumonia. Jim had fought a long illness since 1995 of Guillain Barre Syndrome (a rare virus that attacks 2 in one million people).
Graveside services were held, Friday, Aug. 20, at Mountain View Cemetery in Mountain Home. A reception followed at Adrian's Club in Mountain Home. Arrangements were under the direction of Summers Funeral Homes, McMurtrey Chapel, Mountain Home.
"Big Jim," as he was called by his friends, and "Buddy" by his relatives, was born in San Francisco on Dec. 8, 1929, to Jimmie Columbo Wright and Aline B. (Meier) Wright.
The family lived in San Francisco where his father was a plumber. His father died when he was 3 years old in a car accident. His mother later remarried.
Jim, as young teen, roamed the docks of San Francisco working odd jobs. He was small enough to go inside of the boilers of ships and to chisel out the rust. He earned more money in a day than some men earned in a week.
Jim entered the Army Air Corps on Dec. 1, 1947, and went to boot camp at Lackland Air Base, San Antonio, Texas. After boot camp he was sent to Japan for six years, stationed first at Nagona Air Force Base and other locations in the Orient. He went to the US Army cooking school in 1952 at Itta Jima Island, Japan. When he returned to the United States, he was stationed at Parks Air Force Base, Calif., and lived in Pleasanton, Calif.
He married in 1955 and had a stepson, then later had two daughters and a son. The next transfer was in 1958 to Mountain Home Air Force Base Food Services. He was in the military until December 20, 1962, and later worked Civil Service from June of 1967 to November of 1978, when he took a medical discharge. He lived in Mountain Home until his illness.
His former wife and Jim opened Anna's Mexican Food, in Mountain Home, the first Mexican restaurant.
He was a proud member of the American Legion and loved history, airplanes and westerns. He enjoyed visiting his friends, telling stories and jokes at the local pubs in Mountain Home. "All those who loved and took care of him will miss him. We will always remember Big Jim walking around town with his cane wearing a cowboy hat and a big smile," his family said.
He is survived by: his daughters, Aline A. Wright of Boise, Patricia Smith of Nampa, son, Robert A. and his wife, Becky Wright, of Mountain Home; brother Andrew Johnson of San Francisco, Nick and Anna Juarez of Mountain Home, one granddaughter, and many relatives in California, Nevada, Tennessee and Mexico.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Donald R. Johnson of Millbrae, Calif.; and a sister-in-law, Jane Johnson of San Francisco.