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James Schwefel, Jr. Obituary

James  D. Schwefel, Jr.
James D. Schwefel, Jr.

December 11, 1936 - May 22, 2020
Born in Butte, Montana
Resided in Salinas, California
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James D. Schwefel, Jr., passed away on May 22, 2020, at his home, surrounded by family; he was 83 years old. Born on December 11, 1936 in Butte, Montana, to Mavis Mill Schwefel and James D. Schwefel, his family moved to Salinas when he was 8 years old. He attended Fremont Union School, Alisal Union Elementary, and graduated from Salinas High School in 1954. He received degrees from Hartnell College (1957), UC Berkeley (1959), and Boalt Law School (1963). He was admitted to practice law in California in 1964, and spent the entirety of his 50 year career at the law firm of Noland Hamerly Etienne and Hoss, practicing mainly agricultural and real estate law. In 1966 he married the love of his life, Barbara Ann Diebert Horner, who predeceased him in 2018. He is survived by his two daughters Susan Schwefel and Sara Barouty, son-in-law Daniel Barouty, and granddaughters Katherine, Alexandra and Elizabeth Barouty, all of Salinas.

Jim had a strong sense of social justice and believed in public service. Jim volunteered much of his time to the community, including the Salinas Jaycees, the Salinas Jr. Chamber of Commerce, the March of Dimes, the Conference of California Barristers, the Hartnell College Board of Trustees, the Hartnell College Foundation, Ag Against Hunger, the Ancient and Honorable Society of the Buckeye, E Clampus Vitus, Salinas Rotary, Sun Street Center, and the Church of the Good Shepherd. He received recognition for his academic achievement and his volunteer work throughout the years, including the 1957 Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award, the 1966 March of Dimes Service Award for Outstanding Voluntary Leadership, Salinas Jaycees Outstanding Young Man of 1971, 1972 Distinguished Service Award from the Conference of Barristers of the California State Bar, 1983 Sun Street Center Service Award, 1989 Distinguished Rotarian, 1999 Hartnell Board of Trustees Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2002 Hartnell College Foundation Service Award, and he was a Paul Harris Fellow. He authored legal articles and wrote a chapter in a real estate reference book used by lawyers throughout California for many years. Notably, he served as a member and President of the Hartnell College Board of Trustees at a time when he was instrumental in the campaign to pass an override tax, which furnished matching tax revenue enabling the expansion and construction of most of Hartnell’s campus in its present form.

Jim’s love of music permeated his life. He played both the alto and tenor saxophone, and was a member of both his middle and high school bands. He was a bandleader during high school for the local big band “The Stardusters.” He loved Jazz and attended every Monterey Jazz Festival (except for those last few). He loved theater, especially musical theater, and was an avid supporter of the Western Stage. He knew the verses to many old standards and enjoyed singing them whenever the occasion arose. He was an excellent dancer, and spent many evenings dancing with his equally accomplished partner, the lovely Barbara Ann, with whom dance contests were won.

Jim always appreciated a good joke, had an infectious laugh, and an easy smile. He was a proud member of the infamous River Rats. He shared a love of the outdoors with his wife; more than once they backpacked across the Sierras together. He was a chili cookoff winner and judge, and was considered an official “Chili Head." He also had an adorable habit of creating tiny origami animals during telephone conferences and leaving them on the desks of friends at the firm. He was blessed with a family who loved him and an amazing group of friends and colleagues.

Jim will be remembered for the vitality, humor and integrity with which he lived his life, his accomplishments in the law, the great love he demonstrated to his family, and his dedication to his community, which he left better than he found it. He was one of the helpers and he will be missed.

Donations in lieu of flowers can be made in his name to the Hartnell College Foundation or Sun Street Center.

A celebration of his life will be held in the near future, when conditions allow. Please visit http://www.struveandlaporte.com/.




Funeral Home
Struve and Laporte Funeral Home
41 West San Luis Street
Salinas, CA US 93901


Hartnell College Foundation
411 Central AV
Salinas, CA US 93901
Sun Street Center
11 Peach Dr.
Salinas, CA US 93901