James Ginnaty

Category: Obituaries
Created on Friday, 15 September 2017 22:00
Published on Friday, 15 September 2017 22:00
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James Ginnaty

James “Jim, Jimmy, Wild Man” Jeffery Ginnaty passed away peacefully in his sleep on August 12, 2017, surrounded by the love of his wife, sister and brother-in-love in his home state of Montana. He was 62.
He was born April 6, 1955, in Great Falls, Mont., the eldest son of James Udell and Ernestine Ginnaty.
Jim grew up on the family’s rural property in Great Falls, playing and doing chores alongside his eight siblings. Because of flooding, Jim moved out of the house at age 12. He worked to help support his family from a young age. In 1972 he graduated from CM Russell High School.
Jim loved a good adventure and at 18 he and a friend hitchhiked to Alaska, starting his next adventure. He lived in numerous communities throughout Alaska and was a jack-of-all-trades. He worked in the fishing industry, timber, mining, water and wastewater, healthcare as a facility manager, and finding his passion in teaching, encouraging and serving janitors.
In November 1984, he walked into a State Farm office (at the encouragement of his brother) to meet the girl with great legs. Jim married Shan six months later. He loved and embraced his new family, including Shan’s young children Quinn and Amber.
In 1986, the family moved from Fairbanks to Sitka, where they were  joined by Rachel in 1987 and Micah in 1988. Jim was present and involved in both of his children’s home births.
In 1987, Jim went to work for SEARHC, where he was employed for 25 years in various positions serving 18 remote villages in Southeast Alaska. Small floatplanes were his main form of transportation to and from the villages, where he invested his heart, soul and lust for life. He felt honored to be part of the communities and loved learning the Alaska Native culture.
After Jim left SEARHC in 2012, he continued his passion, working for the University of Michigan as a program manager and a board member of the Simon Institute. It was at the Simon Institute that Jim found his “band of brothers.”
After living on a remote island in Alaska, Jim and Shan were excited to be living on the road system once again. He loved weekend road trips with his wife, and the two often just got in the car with no destination in mind and saw what they could find. They especially loved going to zoos and visiting historical sites – history was something that Jim loved and he was a lifelong learner.
In January 2017 Jim and Shan moved to Bellingham, Wash., to be close to their children and grandchildren. Jim loved taking his grandchildren to the park and playground. He looked forward to investing into their lives. He would include them in the projects he was doing around the house, teaching and passing on his knowledge. He could fix anything!
Jim was predeceased by his father,  James Udell Ginnaty, and mother, Ernestine Ginnaty.
He is survived by his wife Shan Ginnaty; children Quinn Sells, Amber Manz, Rachel Ginnaty and Micah Ginnaty; grandchildren Klover Sells, Ania Sells, Mabel Ginnaty, Lux Manz and Rowan Manz; siblings Rose Kunz, Kathy Martz, Nancy Foster, Roland Ginnaty, Kenneth Ginnaty, Bunny Ginnaty, Robert Ginnaty and Matthew Ginnaty; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who were also like family.
Jim Ginnaty was a genuine soul. He loved encouraging and empowering those around him and fearlessly fought for what was right. A gathering of remembrance will be taking place on Sept. 23 in Edmonds, Wash.
The family will also be holding a celebration of life on the one-year anniversary of his passing; no details are available yet about the event.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his name be made to the local Salvation Army as a way to honor and continue his generosity.
“Jim loved well, lived well and is now on a new adventure,” his family said. “He will be missed!”