James Norman McMullen of Spokane, Washington, passed away peacefully in his home on April 1, 2022, from a rare carcinoma of the bile ducts. Jim was born on November 1, 1941, to Norman Orlo and Phyllis Lorraine McMullen at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, Washington. He was a Cub and Boy Scout while in school, and was active in numerous music groups as a saxophonist. After graduating from North Central High School in 1959, Jim went on to study microbiology at Eastern Washington University. Jim put himself through school playing the saxophone in a quartet. While on summer breaks, along with his other summer jobs, Jim spent a couple of weeks each summer playing in a quartet in Glacier and Yellowstone National Park. On his second summer in Glacier, he met Diane Theilmann from Minnesota, who was on summer break from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. After a lengthy long-distance romance, Jim and Diane joined their lives in marriage on April 29, 1963. They have been married fifty-eight years. Jim’s first full-time job was as a pharmaceutical representative for Hoffman La Roche. After over a year of traveling and being away from Diane who was expecting their first child, Jim resigned from his position. He joined a newfound friend, and employer, in the field of developing and selling recreational land. He loved the outdoors and excelled at selling land throughout the Pacific Northwest. Ultimately, he bought the company and ran it successfully for many years. Jim also started MACCO plastics, a manufacturer of fiberglass shower stalls and irrigation motor covers. After selling his companies, Jim began a career as a stockbroker, beginning at Paine Webber and retiring from RBC twenty-one years later. Jim and Diane have two children, Steve McMullen of Medical Lake, Washington, and Brad McMullen of Bellevue, Washington. Jim was a loving, involved father who truly enjoyed spending time with his family. When the boys were young, he was the scoutmaster for their cup scout troop. When Steve was ten, Jim began taking him to judo lessons two nights a week. He also practiced judo and traveled with Steve as he competed throughout the United States. Jim earned his black belt and became an internationally recognized referee. Before Jim and Diane bought their first home, they bought a cabin at Priest Lake. They spent weekends and vacations at the lake for over twenty years. Jim referred to Priest Lake as “God’s Country”, and it was truly his favorite place on earth. It was a magical environment where his family created countless memories. In 2012, Jim retired and subsequently spent his time enjoying life with Diane and his grandkids. He focused on his hobbies of woodworking, listening to music, working in his yard and garden, hunting pheasants in the rolling hills of the Palouse with his kids and grandkids, and just puttering around the house. Jim was comfortable around just about everyone, but he was perhaps just as content being alone. He was a hard worker and a man of incredible integrity. Jim was humble, kind, unassuming, and had a great sense of humor. He lived a wonderful life and passed with no regrets. Jim is survived by his wife Diane McMullen, and his two sons, Steve and Brad McMullen, his sister Shelley (Peter) Holden, and his grandkids: David, John, Matt, Cian, and Cate McMullen, and Max and Jack Steadman. His funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, May 20, 2022, 11:00am at Assumption Parish on Indian Trail. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Hospice of Spokane which provided amazing support during our time of need.
Published by Spokesman-Review on Apr. 10, 2022.
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