James D. Iler
James D. Iler was born in Chicago, July 19th 1927 and passed away July 17th 2020, at the home he built in Santa Barbara, cared for by his family and helpful nurses from VNA Hospice.
He enjoyed teaching and figuring out how things worked, a “Do it yourself” kind of guy.
Jim and his brother Jon starting out working on the trails in the Yosemite Valley with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps.) and together they built 9 homes.
After high school James joined the Merchant Marines in San Diego and later signed on with the Navy. He worked in the engine room on a ship headed through the islands of the South Pacific, near the end of World War II.
After the Navy, James enrolled at UCLA and joined the swim team. The women’s Synchronized Swim Club used the same pool, James would perform comedy skits in-between swimming acts while the women changed costumes. During a performance Jim was sitting with his brother in the bleachers and pointed out a girl in the show that he did not know. “Jon, see that gal there? That’s the girl I’m going to marry!” James introduced himself to Diana and a year later they married in 1955.
After graduating with teaching credentials he landed a job at Mountain View School in Goleta, retiring in 1990, happily removing his collared shirt and tie.
He loved basketball, shooting hoops and playing ball at the YMCA till age 91. Movies and garage sales were high on his list of favorite activities. Jim studied for his contractor’s and pilot’s license, flying a Cessna 170 up to work on a property during the summer months in Sonora, California.
Former students expressed admiration of Jim’s teaching abilities and his dead shot aim with a rubber chicken if you were not paying attention. Being a kid at heart he took his classes bowling, assisting them with scorecards which helped with their mathematical skills, he also directed the notorious Halloween show. During fishing season Jim caught halibut free-diving, cooking up at school on a hibachi grill for his students.
Rest easy big Jim as you fly into the sunset listening to Gene Krupa’s “ Sing, Sing, Sing “