James “Jim” Edwin Briggs died unexpectedly of a heart attack at his home in Boise on Friday, January 8, 2021, at the age of 74.
Dad was born on December 31, 1946, in Inglewood, CA – a surprise we just learned, after all of us, even Dad, believed our whole lives that he’d been born in nearby Lawndale. His parents were Bill and Dorothy Briggs, who met in Hailey, ID, then later moved to California.
Dad met his future wife Pamela (Ragsdale) Briggs at Lowell High School in Whittier, CA, where she was in charge of timing the swim meets and he was a varsity swimmer/water polo player. They married in September 1966, when she was 18 and Dad was 19.
Soon afterward, he was deployed in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Returning home, he studied architecture at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, then transferred to Cal State College, Fullerton, graduating with a degree in business. Their daughter Jenna was born in 1972 and son Ryan in 1973, and the family moved to Boise in 1978 in search of a better life.
Dad was an accountant for many years, but in 1984, after he got laid off, he turned it into an adventure, taking the whole family on a road trip to visit small Idaho towns and imagine other possible futures. Dad and Mom opened a book and game store, Discovery Cellar, in Eighth Street Marketplace in Boise. It later moved to Boise Towne Square.
Mom and Dad divorced in 2003 but always remained good friends. Eventually, the store closed, and Dad worked other accounting jobs, but his heart was always for his family, his dogs and sci-fi/fantasy novels and shows. He played the accordion well and the banjo badly and was an artist and sculptor, working with glass and wood. He was an Advanced Leader and Communicator in Toastmasters. He always tried to be helpful, whether that meant a smile, a “good job!” or doing random carpentry for friends. He was legendary for stealing Snickers and Red Vines from trick-or-treat bags – watch out!
In his retirement, he bought a four-plex and became an on-premises landlord, while braving some amazing adventures – going to Burning Man in Nevada and a month-long ashram in India with a solo stopover in Paris. After that, he declared he was “done” with traveling.
He loved his children and grandchildren and always went out of his way to be there for them. He will be greatly missed. All this year, we worried about protecting him from Covid. We never thought to be worried about his big heart.
He is survived by his daughter Jenna Ness (Pete) of Boise and son Ryan Briggs (Sadie) of McKinney, TX; grandchildren Cade Briggs, Keeley Briggs, Clara Ness and Conrad Ness; and sister Nancy Poteete (Don) of Lake Forest, CA. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant brother.
A memorial service will be held at Relyea Funeral Chapel in Boise on Friday, January 15, at 2:00pm, with masks and social distancing. It will also be streamed online. A private family interment will be held at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery at a later date.
The family welcomes flowers or a donation to the Idaho Humane Society in Jim’s name.
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 1/15/2021 at 01:55 PM, Mountain Standard Time.