James T. Witten passed away peacefully at his home at Kahala Nui, in Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of 87. Born in San Francisco, Jim moved to Hawaii at the age of six, growing up with parents, Esther and Nash, and brother Robert on Alewa Heights. He graduated from Punahou in 1942, and then attended Northwestern University – returning to Honolulu after a year to serve in the Navy and Army during WWII. After marrying Marion in 1947, they returned to Northwestern where he received his business administration degree. Jim went on to join the Ford Executive Training Program in Detroit, later returning to Hawaii for a 35-year career as an executive with American Factors (Amfac).
Jim was a truly loving and devoted husband and father of five. He had an undeniable passion for the ocean – packing up the family each weekend and for entire summers, to enjoy their beach house and each other at Kawela Bay. Free time with the Wittens, whether at Kawela or at their home in Aina Haina, was inevitably spent on the beach, playing backyard volleyball, surfing, diving, laying lobster nets or fishing. Luaus at Kawela or Pupukea were memorable events and during his later years, family gatherings continued to be his most cherished times.
After the passing of Marion in 2003, Jim moved to Kahala Nui where he built a life rich with friendships, In 2006, he met Nancy Van Allen who became his constant companion. She blessed his life and brought him joy and laughter.
Jim was a man of exceptional character, integrity and optimism, who blessed family, friends and acquaintances with his gentle humor, kind heart, and unique gift for conversation. His historical storytelling and tall tales will be forever missed. He was an avid fan of college football, hosting many “tailgate” gatherings at his Kahala Nui apartment to cheer on the Northwestern Wildcats and Hawaii Warriors
Jim was predeceased by wife Marion, sons Robert and James, and daughter Susan. He is survived by daughter, Margot (husband Mark Johnson), son Thomas (wife Janet), son-in-law Ray Hulick, daughter-in-law Judy Witten, and eight grandchildren: Starr, Lucie (husband Kamuela Hunter), Alana, and Kamuela Johnson, Nash Witten, Wyatt and Cole Hulick, and Cassidy Witten.
An Irish Wake/ Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, May 7, 5:30-7:30 pm at Kahala Nui. Jim wished to be remembered with many thoughts and stories of happy times shared with friends. In accordance with his wishes, a private family service will be held at Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific.