James K. Sells
January 26, 2023
Our dear father, James Sells, of Gig Harbor, WA passed away on December 30, 2022. Jim was born in Shelton, WA to Karl and Evelyn Sells and grew up on the family ranch with his brother John. Jim graduated from Irene S. Reed High School, where he was active in the Thespian Society and Track and Field, where he held the class record for the long jump. After graduation he attended Olympic Junior College, where he met the love of his life and future wife, Barb. Jim and Barb went on to attend and graduate from Central Washington University, where Jim earned his degree in Political Science. They married in 1968 and moved to University Place, where Jim worked as a juvenile parole officer for the Office of Juvenile Rehabilitation and Barb began her teaching career.
With Barb's support, Jim went back to school in 1972 to fulfill his long-time dream of becoming a lawyer. He attended the first-ever class of the University of Puget Sound Law School (now Seattle University Law School) and graduated early, in only two years, by attending summer classes. He was admitted to the Washington State Bar Association in 1975, and joined the law firm of Walgren, Sexton. Jim and Barb moved to Gig Harbor in 1977, where they raised their two kids, Elizabeth and Jeff.
Jim was a quintessential "workaholic" and enjoyed a successful law career, retiring from Ryan, Sells, Uptegraft in 2010. He was awarded the Kitsap County Bar Association Professionalism Award for Sustained Excellence in the Practice of Law and was named the Kitsap County Legal Secretaries' Association Boss of the Year. He was General Counsel to the Washington Refuse and Recycling Association (WRRA), and the Washington Highway Users Federation for over 30 years. He received the lifetime achievement award from WRRA, and, in 2016 was inducted into the WRRA Haul of Fame.
Jim was an avid reader, amassing an encyclopedia of knowledge over his lifetime. He had a lifelong love of sports and classic cars, and held a special place in his heart for British sports cars. He loved cooking and had an extensive collection of cookbooks and menus from favorite restaurants, thanks to Barb. After retiring, Jim and Barb enjoyed spending time with family, especially grandson Parker. They enjoyed many trips to Las Vegas, where they lived it up, gambling at the casinos and soaking up the sun by the pool.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved wife, Barb. He is survived by daughter Elizabeth (Michael) of Gig Harbor, son Jeffrey of Redmond, grandson Parker, brother John of Shelton, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Jim will be missed for his legal contributions, sage advice – legal or not, and his wit, cynicism, and humor. He will be especially missed for his kindness and generosity.
Jim requested no memorial service. He'd rather you "go have some fun" and make a donation to your local library or The Mason County Historical Society.