James N. Bliss, age 92, of Ferndale passed away in Bellingham Sunday, April 30, 2023. He was born August 8, 1930 in Bellingham, Washington to parents Norman Wilbur and Bertha Maude (Kenney) Bliss. He spent his early years in Bellingham, moving to Ferndale to attend grade school at Mt. View. He attended Ferndale High School where he was active in FFA and Football, graduating in 1948. During his high school years he met and worked for Lyle “Bud” and Loretta Hunter. Their relationship spanned many decades and made an important and long lasting impression on Jim. He joined the Army and served as a radio operator in South Korea, before transferring to Vienna, Austria where he served as MP, ending his military time as a Corporal in June 1952.
When Jim returned from Europe, he entered WWSC for a short while. He then worked for Nelson Construction before realizing he wanted something different. Thus began his career in the Insurance Field, beginning with Prudential and moving to Oltman Insurance. He eventually landed at Percy Hood Agency in Ferndale and became sole owner in the 1970’s. He continued servicing Whatcom and Skagit counties for over 30 years providing life, casualty, homeowners, and auto insurance to many.
His life was rich and full. He met and married Patricia Neudeck from Blaine, WA in 1953 and they had three girls. In 1962 they moved to Vista Drive in Ferndale where he lived until his death. Jim was very involved in the community. He was a football and basketball referee for many years and is usually remembered fondly as a fair guy!? He served on the board of the Old Settlers Association and could be seen lining up the parade entries every July for many years. He was a member of the Elks, Lions, and eventually attained 30 years of perfect attendance with Whatcom Rotary North. He also served on the Whatcom County Board of Equalization, and was a member of the American Legion.
Jim, Pat and family loved their time boating in the San Juan Islands and up into British Columbia, especially enjoying Princess Louisa Inlet and Desolation Sound. They also had a pickup and camper and traveled extensively, making trips to Alaska twice, numerous trips to Eastern Washington as well as trips to Florida to visit their children and grandchildren. He had a weekly poker group that he was a part of for over 70 years, with a few of the early regulars still exchanging money! Jim was delighted by his three grandchildren, as well as his first great-grandson.
Anyone who knew Jim would quickly come to associate him with John Deere antique tractors. This love began with his father’s tractor he operated at the farm on the Kickerville Road and became the first of what would become an extensive collection. For many years he purchased, restored and sold them. At the time of his death, he had a collection of 31!
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Patricia Lee (Neudeck) Bliss, daughter Carolyn Sue Bliss, and sister Barbara “Ban” Bourne. He is survived by his two daughters, Merideth Bliss and Barbara Boucher (Mark); grandsons Wilson and Corbin Troxel and granddaughter Michael Boucher; great-grandson Charlie Troxel; sister Elizabeth “Betty” Jefferson, and numerous beloved nieces, nephews and other relatives.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, July 23, 2023, 2:00pm, at the Ferndale Event Center, 5715 Barrett Road, Ferndale, WA. 98248. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in is name to Whatcom Hospice House or the charity of your choice.