James Armas Ranta
1946 - 2018
James Armas Ranta, age 71, had a heart attack late Thursday night and passed away early Friday morning, January 12, 2018 here in Santa Barbara, California. Born November 9th, 1946 in Claremont, New Hampshire, he is survived by his wife of 45 years, Nancy Ranta, daughter Heather Schwerin and husband Will Schwerin with grandchildren Everly and Max, and son Jeff Ranta.
Jim moved to California in 1964 and attended Riverside Junior College and then went on to UCSB. From a young age, he had a love for water sports and was named an All-American swimmer in 1967 and 1968 and helped UCSB to its first ever NCAA Division II Swim Team Championship in 1967. He played in the first NCAA Water Polo Championship Tournament with the Gauchos in 1968, and is a member of the UCSB Hall of Fame. While at UCSB, he also met Nancy and they were married in June of 1972. He began teaching at Santa Barbara High School in 1971 and shortly thereafter went to Dos Pueblos High School where he taught math and became the head Swim and Water Polo coach.
Jim truly loved working with youth and had a natural ability to make students feel valued and supported. He also made math class tolerable and somehow fun. He continued as a teacher and coach for 40+ years. During this time he guided and mentored hundreds of students and helped them realize their potential and become successful adults. He retired in 2012, but continued to assist as a swim coach and referee water polo throughout Southern California.
The impact Jim had on aquatics in the Santa Barbara community was immense and will always be appreciated and remembered. His laugh and energy were contagious, and to know him was to love him. He enjoyed spending time with family, the outdoors, traveling, singing karaoke and was always up for a good time. He will forever be missed and never forgotten.
A confirmed location and date for a Celebration of Life in February will be shared soon.