James C Conner

Died: Wed., Mar. 21, 2018


Funeral Service

6:00 PM Fri., Mar. 23, 2018
Location: Burns Mortuary


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James Cameron Conner, 63, of Mission, died March 21, 2018 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Walla Walla, WA. He was born November 17, 1954, in Pendleton, OR to Gilbert Cecil and Virginia Wilkinson Conner. He was the fifth of twelve children and the second eldest son. 

James attended Keizer and Washington Elementary Schools, John Murray Junior High in Pendleton, and Madras Junior High. He graduated from Madras High School in 1973 where he lettered four years each in football, basketball, and tennis. He was named Most Valuable Player for his senior football season and went to State finals twice in tennis. He attended Linfield College and Willamette University.

For most of his life, James was a Happy Canyon participant in various scenes over time from little war  dancer to scout, raider, cliff fall-over, silhouette, and war party roles.

James was notable for reading every newspaper and magazine he picked up from front to back. He tuned in regularly for Washington Week, Face the Nation, and old movies.  He enjoyed cross-country skiing, zydeco music, quaffing, and cooking excellent chili, fried potatoes, and spaghetti for family and friends. He also competed in marathons in his younger years.

He was employed by Kahneeta Resort, Madras Safeway, Cove State Park, Ranch of the Canyon, the Wildhorse Resort, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and numerous construction contractors. For many years, he served his family as a caregiver for his mother and youngsters.

James was an avid Oregon Ducks and Montana Grizzlies fan. He loved golf and, like every sport he played, excelled at it. He was particularly gifted at creating nicknames for family members and created and sang little songs for children in his care.

He was preceded in death by his parents, elder brother John Macy Conner, niece Elena Gonzales, and grandnephew Elijah Conner. Surviving siblings are Cheryl, Kit, Verna, Matthew, Carol and Kristen Conner, Pendleton; Jody Conner, Wallowa; Elaine Miller, Madras; Carla Conner-Greene, Warm Springs; and Thomas Conner, Ukiah.

Nephews and nieces bidding fond farewell to much-loved uncle Jamesy include Marcus, Vanessa, Gus, Lucas and Virginia Conner, Jason Lamere and Appollonia Saenz, Pendleton; Cyrus Conner, Portland; Dyan Lamere, Rocky Boy; Damien Webster, New York; Brycee Bear, Wallowa; WeetahLoo Bear, Spokane; Valerie Miller, Louisiana; Logan Miller, LaPine; Benjamin Gonzales, Salem; Gari Conner and Thomas Bear, Arizona; Rico Saenz, Madras; Manuel Greene, Lapwai; Perry Greene, Redmond; and Jerrod Miller.

Dozens of cousins who were James’ rivals and partners from childhood on, grandnieces and grandnephews who were tended, teased, sung to, and nicknamed by James, and his close cronies will miss his affection, witticisms and special charm.

Family viewing will be at 4 pm at Burns Mortuary with funeral service at 6 pm, Friday, March 23. Immediately following a dinner will be held at the Longhouse. In accordance with James’ wishes, his ashes will be laid to rest at a later date by family.

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Julie Ramsey Talbot
   Posted Fri March 23, 2018
Conner family--So very sad to learn of James's passing. Though I hadn't seen him in many years, he is still such a bright star in my memories of high school. I played on the tennis team with him, and was also a close friend (and tennis partner) of LaDonna DeJarnatt's. We spent many weekends together on tennis courts, both in Madras and places like Burns, Prineville, Grass Valley, and other small towns. What I remember most about him is his razor-sharp wit, his subtle but hilarious jokes, the way he would look at you sideways with one eyebrow raised, and his complete and utter kindness and respect for others. His love for LaDonna was deep, true, and selfless. He set a standard for how to treat women that men today could learn from. James made a profound impact on me in those years as I watched his commitment to athletics, to his friends, and to the woman he loved. It's an impact that has lasted my entire life, and for that I will always be grateful. Bless you, James, and my deepest sympathies to all of you he has left behind. The world is better for having had him, and a lesser place that he is gone.

The tribute to him and his life is wonderful. Maybe someday we will see each other again and watch Face the Nation together. :-)

Blessings and hugs,

Julie Ramsey Talbot

Bonita Souers
   Posted Fri March 23, 2018
I’m so very sorry to hear of James passing. I send healing blessings to his family and friends.

Cory DeJarnatt
   Posted Fri March 23, 2018
It is with deepest condolence to have read of James passing. Growing up with James as a close friend to our family, he was always of great spirits and such a joy to have known. I appreciate his strong family values and his loving heart to my sister Ladonna. . My father George was always an admirer of James and was so proud of his ability both in sports and in life. It is with much regret to have lost contact with him for all these years.
My prayer is comfort for you the family through this time of heart ache.
May you continue to remember James as the man he was.

The DeJarnatt Family..

Marcia Heinrichs Sorini (Conner)
   Posted Sat March 24, 2018
Sending love and prayers to all family members.
Reading James obituary I wish I had known him.
Wishing everyone peace and fond memories of James.

David Moan
   Posted Mon March 26, 2018
James was a great kid that I enjoyed playing tennis with at Madras High. He was my tennis partner and at times made the motivational difference in our winning together. Great Wit, Great Attitude, Great Kid. I always enjoyed being on the court with him and very sorry to hear this news. My prayers to his family during this tough time.

Jean Edwards
   Posted Mon March 26, 2018
My condolences to the entire Conner clan. James touched so many lives and was one of the funniest people I've ever known. We shared great stories and laughs at Round Up over the years. Thank you for the obituary, which provided information about is youth and accomplishments growing up. He was a modest person and I didn't know many of those things. Rest in peace, dear James. I'll miss you.

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