James Victor

Date of Birth

April 10, 1950

Date of Death

October 25, 2012

City of Death

Santa Barbara

04/10/1950 – 10/25/2012

James Victor, aka “Jimi“, devoted father and local artist, passed away on October 25, 2012 at the age of 62 of natural causes. James was resting in his car after taking photos at Butterfly Beach in Montecito when he died.

James was born in San Francisco on April 10, 1950. He and his brother Ricky grew up in Tamalpais Valley in Marin County. After graduating from Tamalpais High School in 1968, James went on to attend Marin Junior College where he studied art history and ceramics. He proved talented in ceramic arts and became a potter.

His childhood home was near a forested area where he spent countless hours fishing and exploring nature. In High School, he discovered surfing and became a local at Stinson Beach.

In 1970, James moved to Australia where he lived for several years.
His mother was Australian born and curiosity about his roots and the lure of good surf inspired the move. He worked as a potter and explored the surf spots in Australia and New Zealand. In the late 1970’s he returned to Marin County and started a house painting business.

James enjoyed many surf trips up and down the coast of California. It was during these trips that he grew to love Santa Barbara. He moved there in the early 1980’s and established a pottery studio downtown. He started selling his pottery and ceramic jewelry at the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show on Cabrillo Blvd. in 1987. A few years later, he began working with metals. He created a uniquely bold and very successful jewelry line along with candleholders, faces and garden guardians. James had a significant and enduring presence at “the Beach Show” for 25 years.

James married Erica Hillemann on September 12, 1992. During the first 7 years of marriage, the couple enjoyed spending weekends at the beach and many fabulous trips to Tahiti, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Alaska and Ireland. Erica introduced James to the Eastern Sierra where James discovered a love of the mountains and snowboarding. They eventually acquired a cabin in Mammoth Lakes and spent a few good years enjoying summers and winters in their second home. During this time, James decided he wanted to fly and took up paragliding.

On May 1, 2000, James had a serious paragliding crash. Erica was 4 months pregnant. James sustained multiple fractures of his lower extremities and spent the next several months and years learning to live with pain and disability.

On September 6, 2000 son Gavin was born and became the bright shining light in James’ life. Despite daily challenges with pain, fatigue and limited mobility, James was a very present and loving father who managed to take Gavin fishing, surfing, golfing and shared with him his love for art, music, adventure and learning about life and the universe.

James is survived by son Gavin John, wife Erica and cat Lama along with abundant friends and extended family.

A memorial service and celebration of life is planned for Saturday November 3, 2012. For more information, please CLICK HERE or call 805-962-7246.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Unicef, Surfrider Foundation and Children’s Creative Project.


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