James S. Dewey, formerly of Goleta, 1936-2022 | Obituary
Posted on September 3, 2022
Deacon Jim Dewey
On August 23, 2022, Jim Dewey was called home at the age of 85 due to complications from open heart surgery. We have lost, and heaven has gained, a great husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend and Catholic deacon.
Jim was born in Oakland, California on September 18, 1936. He grew up in Piedmont, California and attended Piedmont High School where he played baseball.
He was reunited with his 64-year-old sweetheart, Sharon Lynn Ulm, and they were married on June 7, 1958, at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Oakland. They moved to Southern California to join the aerospace boom and raise a family.
Jim worked full-time for Autonetics in Anaheim, CA as a software and hardware engineer while studying to complete his bachelor’s degree at Cal State Fullerton in math.
In 1967, Jim and Sharon moved their family of five young children to Goleta, after taking jobs with AC Delco Electronics. Their sixth child was added to their number in 1968. Later, Jim was offered a job with Burroughs Corporation in Goleta and worked there as a manager until the Goleta facility closed in 1981.
With the heart of a servant leader, Jim was very involved in all the communities in which he lived. He was part of the Boy Scouts of America program for 15 years with his boys, where two of them became Eagle Scouts. He was very proud to receive the St. George Award which recognizes the recipient’s outstanding contribution to the spiritual development of Catholic youth in the Boy Scouts of America program.
Jim helped run a youth drug resistance program called Operation Reach in Goleta. In March 1972, Jim was honored for this effort with the Goleta Valley Golden Deed Award.
In 1981 Jim started working for Xerox Corporation in El Segundo, California. This meant moving to Lomita, California. While living in Lomita, Jim became an advocate for the underprivileged, especially the elderly.
In 1989, the mobile home park where they lived was sold to developers, displacing many of the elderly people who lived there. Jim and Sharon have gone door-to-door to rally community support and made several visits to City Council to represent the interests of park residents.
The park became a seniors mobile home park through the efforts of Jim and Sharon. Residents were able to return to their homes in the Grandview Senior Mobile Home Park (Los Angeles Times, 1989).
After Jim retired from Xerox Corporation, Jim and Sharon built their mountain home in Caliente, California, the Piutes. They joined St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Wofford Heights, California, where he served as an ordained Catholic deacon.
Jim immersed himself in the work of serving others. He and Sharon began serving at Kern Erwin Owen County Juvenile Camp, bringing hope and encouragement to the boys there for over 20 years. Jim never missed an opportunity to serve others.
In 2021, Jim and Sharon took a three-month trip across the country in their motorhome. They visited many beautiful places and saw friends and family along the way.
Jim became a deacon in January 2003 and served until his death.
Jim was predeceased by his parents Tom and Marcella; his older brother Tom; and his younger brother John.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Sharon; six children; 16 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to St. Jude’s Catholic Church for the Deacon James Dewey Fund.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 24 at St. Jude Catholic Church, 86 Nellie Dent Drive, Wofford Heights, CA. The Rosary begins at 10:30 a.m., Mass at 11 a.m. and reception at noon at Mercy Hall.
Interment will take place at a later date in Potter Valley, California.