In Memory

James Gildenvan

James Gildenvan


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James L. Gildenvan 7589539

James L. Gildenvan

February 8, 1944  -  August 14, 2019

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On Wednesday, August 14, 2019, James L Gildenvan, 75, loving husband and father passed away peacefully at home in Issaquah, WA from Alzheimers and Parkinsons. He was an easy patient for his caretaker wife and rarely complained. Humor and tenderness got them through the difficult moments. Jim was born February 8, 1944 in Valley City, North Dakota to Christian parents, James LeRoy and Alice Minnie (Larson) Gyldenvand. He was raised in Lamoure and Grand Forks with his twin siblings, Jon (Jack) and Judy. Jim played football, wrestled, worked part-time and graduated from Central High School in 1962. On August 21, 1965, he married his sweetheart, Sylvia Wennes Egertson in Los Angeles; the ceremony was officiated by the brides father and brother. In 1966, he received his BA in Business from the University of North Dakota. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, the UND Flying Club and received his solo pilots license. One week after graduation, Jim and Sylvia left the flat lands and dust of North Dakota and headed west to Seattle to be surrounded by the waters and mountains of the great Pacific Northwest. Daughters, Dawn Christine (Sundene) and Christy Lee (Elves), were born and raised in Renton and Issaquah. Jim worked in commercial real estate for Coldwell Banker, Westin Hotels, and as a Trust Real Estate Officer at the Bank of America until early retirement. In 2000, Jim and Sylvia sold the Issaquah family home, bought a 35 RV and toured the United States. A year later, they settled in the small seaside town of Anacortes, WA and bought a boat. Jim loved taking family and friends out to cruise the San Juan Islands, or even just sit and read on his beloved "retirement rocker." He also enjoyed driving Long Haul 53 semi-trucks for several years and was a loving caregiver to his mother-in-law during the 5 years she lived with them. Jim had many hobbies and was a "Gearhead at heart. He bought his first car at age 13 for $15, cut off the roof so he could jump in it, and painted it with RED house paint and a brush. He built a wood, one person, RED and white hydroplane from plans during high school and college. In later years, his garage was the place to be, with guys coming and going helping one another with their car projects. He restored several 1970s Toyota Landcruisers and cruised off-road with his sons-in-law, friends, wife and daughters (who drove as well). It was a mighty group on those dusty, muddy or snowy mountain roads! The RED Crusher wasnt Jims only wheel-love, he also had a passion for motorcycles and road his whole life. One of his favorite trips was with his brother Jon and nephew Ryan, who came out occasionally from Minnesota for garage and activity time. Jim enjoyed camping and boating on many Washington lakes and San Juan Islands during the summer months. During the winter months his attention turned to woodworking and building RC model airplanes. He was once featured on a local TV show where he flew his Toro RC Model lawnmower-airplane that he built. He was the first president of the Marymoor RC Club in Redmond, where he and other start-up club members got the City Parks Department to give them some land to fly their RC planes. He negotiated they would clear and lay the flying field themselves. It was a lot of work, but the Marymoor Park Club is still strong with about 300 members. Jim also played the organ by ear. He played hymns and old country music, entertaining his girls and passing the time as he waited patiently for his wife and daughters to "get ready." The beats would pick up when brother Jon would come to town as the two of them would play side by side. Sister Judy also played the piano. As siblings, they were a threesome, and best friends. Jon called often from Minnesota, and retold stories of their youth when Jim could hardly speak anymore, but Jim would laugh himself silly with tears, because he remembered the good times with him and Judy. In the last months, his nurses and therapists asked if he always smiled so much. He did and was good natured. He had a good work ethic, and a willingness to help anyone. He was a Norwegian Lutheran who ate Lutefisk, and liked it!! Most of all he was proud of the women his daughters became, the husbands they choose, and for raising such loving and caring grandchildren. He believed God was at the helm of his family even though he wasnt one to share his faith or doubts at times. He lived his Christian values by example of love, respect and forgiveness. Lifes too short to live anything less. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and sweet sister, Judy Odegaard, whom he missed dearly these past 8 years. She would often say, "Sylvia, how do you put up with him? OH! Hes such a darling!" He is survived by his devoted wife, Sylvia; daughters and sons-in-law, Dawn and Scott Sundene, and Christy and Scott Elves; grandchildren: Audrey, Jamie, Andrew, Greta, Alex and Elsa; Jims story-telling brother, Jon (Jack) Gyldenvand, brother and sister in-laws, and many nieces and nephews. Memorial Service: Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church Date: Saturday, October 5, 2019 Time: 1:00 - 4:00pm, Lunch Reception Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church 22818 SE 8th St., Sammamish, WA. 98074 (Directions on church webpage) Memorandums: * Walk to End Alzheimers ACT.ALZ.ORG (Family walk on October 6th - Link on Christy Elves Facebook page) * LRCC - Lutheran Retreats, Conferences and Camp at El Camino Pines, Frasier Park, CA