Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
James Neff Memorial
James Neff Memorial

James Neff

James Neff

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, and devoted citizen, James (Jim) Neff passed away peacefully, at home, on Sunday, July 12, 2020.

Jim was born into a strong, loving family at home in Alger, Washington on October 3, 1925, the youngest of nine children of Elfrida (Shassey) Neff and Ben Neff.

The family moved to So. Spruce Street in Burlington in 1929.  Jim attended Grades 1-12 in Burlington, 3 years at Roosevelt School, 5 at Lincoln, 3 at Burlington High School, and 1 year as part of the first consolidated graduating class of Burlington-Edison High School in 1943.  Upon graduating, Jim immediately enlisted in the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program.  He spent two years in training to become a B-29 Flight Engineer.  Just before completing his training, World War II ended, and he was discharged November, 1945 for the convenience of the government, much to his disappointment.  At enlistment, Jim had joined his 3 brothers and 2 brothers-in-law, who were already fighting in WW II.  Jim returned to Burlington, resumed courtship with his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Wear, and waited a year for her to graduate in 1946.  In January, 1947, Jim and Lorraine were married at St. Charles Catholic Church.  From this union came 3 sons:  Marc, Douglas, and Kevin.

From 1945-1949 Jim worked for R.L. Jeffrey at a Mobil Service Station, learning the trade.  In 1949, Jim was coerced into joining Lorraine’s father on the family farm, with the promise of taking over management of the dairy herd.  This position never materialized and, after 3 years of frustration, the dairy herd was sold and the farm converted to beef cattle.

In 1959, an opportunity arose for Jim to assume control of a service station.  Within a year, Texaco took control of the old Green Gate Tavern property on the corner of Burlington Boulevard and Rio Vista, and Jim operated Jim Neff Texaco there from 1959-1981.

Upon the death of his father-in-law, Jim returned to the family farm to help his mother-in-law.  In 1992, upon the death of his mother-in-law, with Lorraine having inherited the farm, he, son Doug  and family, with the help of Marc and Kevin, established a beef and hay ranch, which is still in operation today, specializing in natural grass-fed beef and hayledge and 2nd and 3rd cutting quality hay for all animals.

In 1994, after 47 years of marriage, Lorraine passed away and Jim continued ranching full-time.

Jim started playing bridge with 3 other widowers, and from this came a romance with Betty Stump.  Having been neighbors and friends for many years, and going to the same church with Fred and Betty, it was a natural and loving transition, culminating in marriage in 1997, with the addition of 4 daughters to the family, the 4 Ks:  Kris, Kim, Kerri, and Kelli.

Throughout his life, Jim enjoyed fishing, hunting, card-playing (especially poker) and worldwide travel.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Lorraine Wear Neff,  mother and father, Elfrida and Ben Neff, 5 brothers:  Baby Neff, Sherman (Hilda), Louis (Alice), Victor (Jenny), and Robert (Bill), as well as 3 sisters:  Ruth (Ring) Tjeerdsma, Rena (Robert) Johnson, Rose (Bill)  Biggerstaff, and in-laws:  Hugh and Mary Wear, Nina (Clifford) Flanary, and JoAnn Hannan.  Jim was also preceded in death by his father-in-law, Louis Imhoff, brother-in-law, Lou Imhoff, son-in-law, Randy “Griz” Adams, daughter, Kerri Laird, grandson, Adam Wolfe, and dear friends:  Fred Stump, Don Whipple, Clyde Chase, Marvin Youngquist, and Tom Oswald.

Jim is survived by his loving wife of 23 years, Betty Stump Neff, 3 sons:  Marc (Mary), Douglas (Becky), and Kevin, 3 daughters:  Kris Adams, Kim McSheridan, and Kelli (Chris) Stangel, as well as numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Jim’s accomplishments include Burlington Kiwanis, Lifetime member of Elks Lodge 1604, Citizen’s Advisory Board of Burlington-Edison School District, 3 terms on the Burlington City Council, Board of Directors Marysville Livestock Auction, Junior Chamber of Commerce, and member of the group that developed Skagit Properties and Skagit Beach, commonly referred to as the Downey Farm.  Jim was also a lifetime member of St. Charles Catholic Church.

About 1970, Jim was asked to substitute in a group of prominent citizens that had formed a Poker group in 1935.  This game is still in progress, and Jim continued playing every Wednesday night for the rest of his life, referring to this as his weekly “Choir Practice”.  His other faithful choir members, so near and dear to his heart, include:  Gene Sargent, Gerry Nelson, Al Brown, Rob Dowen, Rich Brandt, Roger Nelson, Mark Knutzen, and Stu Thomas.
Jim was laid to rest at Bow Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Jim may be sent to St. Charles Catholic Church, 935 Peterson Rd., Burlington, WA  98233



  • Lynn Handy

    Condolences to the Neff family, and to Betty and Kris, there have been several losses and I am keeping you all in prayer. Jim was a sweet guy, always enjoyed that big smile at church!

  • Denilyn Brummett

    Jim was the sweetest customer and my favorite at Scholten’s, always with the biggest smile on his face. I always looked forward to seeing him and having a cup of coffee ready for him as soon as I saw him pull in the parking lot. He was a great guy with such amazing stories. Every year at the elementary school Veterans day program I would see him as well, smiling from ear to ear and singing along with all the kiddos. It was an honor to know Jim and he will be greatly missed.

  • Karin Jones CARRICK


  • Tom T Hall

    I got to meet Jim at the morning coffee at the Sports Keg. We instantly hit it off and we almost always stayed over and talked sometimes Mark Knutzen was with us. What a Great Guy

  • Joan (Oswold) Harris

    Jim was a wonderful man. Never saw him without a smile. I bought my 1st car an Aqua colored 1964 1/2 Mustang off his Texaco gas station lot. Loved hearing stories from my dad (Tom Oswold) and when he married Betty my dad renamed him Jimmy Stump. Rest in Peace my friend.

  • Kris Oswold

    Jim’s Family, Just a note to tell you that Jim was very special to me and to our whole family. His friendship with both of my parents (Dorothy and Tom Oswold) meant the world them. The regular updates and stories from my Dad that depicted Jim as the authoritative source on all things important in the valley, made it clear that he loved and respected him immensely. I too loved Jim and will remember the many evenings I sat with him and Lorraine at the bridge table in my parents living room while Jim somehow simultaneously teased and encouraged me. I wish you only happy memories. You are in my thoughts.

  • Susan Bullock

    Dear Neff family, Sending condolences to you all at this time of sorrow. I pray he is with our Lord and Mother Mary. And I pray for your sweet memories and healing in your hearts. Please know that Mike and I send you love and peace be with you. Sincerely, Mike and Susan Bullock

  • Bobby Rathvon

    God Bless Jim Neff he was a great teacher, employer, friend and had a profound part in my life as I grew in to a adult. To this day I still remember and use many of his wisdoms. July 2020 is a sad time I lost both my Father as well as a great Friend. Be blessed in Heaven. Love you all.

  • Elizabeth Dynes Wilson

    My family adored Jim. My children, especially Mary Elizabeth and Anne Marie always called him “Neffie” when we went to his service station. He was always so kind and loving. Always a smile on his face. He will be be very much missed by all who knew him. My sympathy to Betty and the boys.

  • Bob, Norm & Kim Rathvon

    Our warmest condolences to your family. We spent many good years at that station.

  • Linda Knapp Stearns

    Marc, I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. I am sorry for Betty’s loss as well since I have known her for many years. What a wonderful life he has live.
    Your classmate friend forever,
    Linda Knapp Stearns ❤️❤️❤️

  • Connie Carter and Gail Peterson

    Neff Family, and all that includes, we are thinking of you and holding you in our hearts and prayers. So sorry for your loss, and thankful for the blessings the years you had with Jim brought you.

  • Carol Cavett

    So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Betty and family as you once again must endure the loss of a loved. So glad you were able to have him in your life for so many years, and we always enjoyed visiting and seeing his happy smile when you came to the family and Swiss functions. Carol Cavett and family

  • Janice Peth

    Marc & Mary – My deepest condolences at Jim’s passing. What an absolutely lovely man, with humor and a sparkle in his eye. Thinking of you all and with prayers ….

  • Dave Moreland

    Jim Neff was just a flat out great guy!
    Loved seeing and joking with him!
    He will be missed

  • Kate Miyasato

    A great guy and always fun to talk with. Happy he was a “shirt tail relative.”

    He will be missed by many.

  • Eric Nelson

    The last of the Shassey cousins, Rest In Peace my dear cousin! Give mom a hug and kiss for me!!