In Memory

James Githens

Passed away on October 20, 2013, at age 62, in Citrus Heights, CA.

James Henry "Jim" Githens

James Henry Githens passed away in Citrus Heights on October 20, 2013. He was born in Oakland, CA on February 18, 1951. Jim was preceded in death by his parents Dolores (nee Thornton) and Henry Githens. Jim attended St. Ignatius Parish School; Encina High School, class of 1969; and California State University Sacramento, graduating with a degree in Recreation Administration in 1974. He served in the Air Force Reserves for one tour. His career included positions as Recreation Therapist in Visalia, and for the next 23 years as Activity Specialist, rising to Director of the City of San Jose Community Center. Jim was caring and friendly in providing services to persons with developmental and mental disabilities. Jim also taught Special Education classes at DeAnza College. Returning to Sacramento, Jim taught for 12 years in the San Juan Unified School District at Pasadena and Dyer-Kelly Elementary Schools, retiring in 2011. Jim was an avid sports fan and played on several amateur softball teams. He enjoyed international travel and visited many parts of Europe. Jim greeted life with his wonderful smile which will be missed by all, including the wonderful caregivers at Manor Care. Jim is survived by his brother William (RoseMarie); sisters Judy Hardy (Alan) and Barbara Githens (David Amundson); two nephews, David and Matthew Githens; and niece Natalie Lessa. A funeral mass is scheduled for November 9 at 11 AM at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 10497 Coloma Road, Rancho Cordova, with a social gathering following in the parish hall. Donations in his name can be made to Mercy Hospice, 9912 Business Park Drive, Suite 100, Sacramento 95827. He will be interred next to his parents in Canby, Oregon.  Published in the Sacramento Bee, Nov. 2, 2013.

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12/14/17 04:06 PM #1    

Chantelle Lehman (Biaggi)

I'm posting this comment on behalf of Chuck Doughtery, an long-time friend of Jim's:

Shocked is an understatement when I learned of Jim's passing. I met Jim in the early 1970s, after he was hired to work as a Recreation Therapist for San Jose. Being his supervisor's boss, we had had professional relationship until after I left the City for a faculty and coaching position at De Anza College. It was there that I recruited Jim to teach special ed part time. We became good friends and had many fun times together. Both of us were "4/20" friendly and loved rock & roll music. He often mentioned Bill Murray as being his oldest best friends. We both owned boats; he owned a water ski boat and I had a 40 ft. sailing yacht. We took turns giving rides on each others boat. It was special to go on rides in the winter in the Delta. Jim got lost one time after dark, and we became trapped in the over grown hyacinth weeds. I could write a book on all our adventures. Jim loved to "get away with boyish pranks", such as theater jumping without paying to see several movies; buying cheap tickets to the Giants ball games, then sneaking over to sit in the reserved seating area. Some of his experiences at the center for the mentally ill were hilarious. I miss him and all the fun we had. Life is a lot more boring now. Chuck Dougherty 

03/18/18 12:42 PM #2    

Jim Peterson

This message is long overdue...

Jim Githens was a very unique person and is greatly missed by me, along with anyone who knew him.  A truly GREAT guy.  Jim had this very slow word track along with a gravel type voice that may mislead you about him.  He was an extremely brilliant guy, gifted with a huge heart and tremendous compassion.  SO compassionate that I wasn't at all surprised to learn his chosen career evolved around Mental Health (also: a fierce advocate for the mentally disabled and challenged, raising millions of dollars to help support their plight over the years of his involvement).

A favorite memory:  Jim and I would plan our college classes around keeping every Tuesday afternoon open.  We would meet every Tuesday afternoon at the outdoor basketball courts behind Greer School, rain or shine and "we'd have it out."  We both were extremely competative and you'd think that I, having a 6 inch advantage in height over Jim, would have it easy...not a chance.  He gave up nothing!  He had this goofy footed, fall away, left handed jump shot that I could do nothing about and he was rediculously accurate...relentless.  

Golly it was fun!

Part of the solice I feel about Jim being gone is knowing Jim is in heaven giving someone fits with that goofy footed, fall away, left handed jump shot.  He was a great friend and I miss him a lot! 

Believe me, the loss of Jim Githens was not only a loss to us that knew him...Jim Githens was a loss to "many" that had no idea of his dedication to their plight.  They benefited greatly by his efforts and I'm sure his legacy will live on for many years in the form of the lives he touched.

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