James Lewis Walston, age 93, passed away peacefully in Bakersfield, CA on February 16, 2023. He often said he "lived a great life" and was blessed with many family members and friends. He was a devoted father, grandfather, great-grandfather, cousin, uncle, brother, and friend. He put family first and was fiercely proud of them.
Jim was born on October 22, 1929, in the Sunset Labor Camp in Arvin, CA, the second of five sons born to Monty Jay and Mary Jane Walston.
After graduating from Kern Union High School, Dad enlisted in the US Army in 1948 and he proudly served for four years. While stationed in Fulda, Germany he met Liselotte Sentfleben, and found true love. They were married in 1953. Dad was hired by the Kern County Sheriff's Office in November 1954. Together, he and Lisa lived in Bakersfield and Ridgecrest and became the proud parents of three daughters: Theresa, Patricia, and Ramona. Sadly, Lisa passed away in 1977.
Dad worked at the KCSO which became a career choice that he would enjoy for 30 years until his retirement in 1985. Beginning as a Patrol Deputy and working through the ranks to later become a Lieutenant of the Lamont, Tehachapi, and Taft Substations. He was in command of the southern valley area of Kern County. While in Lamont he established many enduring friendships with the staff with whom he worked and with many of the Lamont residents.
Dad married Shirley McDermott in 1979. After retirement, he and Shirley moved to North San Juan in Nevada County, CA., where he enjoyed gardening, fishing, being outdoors, and frequenting the Peppermill in Reno, NV with Shirley. Eventually, Shirley's health necessitated their move to Reno, where they lived until Shirley's passing in 2004.
Dad's next life change involved relocating to Vista, CA to assist with the raising of his grandsons for many years. He was immensely proud of his grandchildren which included Jaime, Scott, Lisa, Sean, Dylan, and Haydan and he would often talk of their accomplishments. He was lovingly called "GG pa" by his great-grandchildren Aubrey, Nolan, Isla, and Addie.
In 2017 Dad returned to Bakersfield to live out the remainder of his life while being close to family and many of his friends. He enjoyed telling stories in vivid detail about his life and particularly his days with the KCSO. His memory was remarkable. With astounding clarity, he would recall names, dates, and events from his early childhood and his time in the Army as if they had occurred yesterday.
Dad is survived by his daughters: Theresa Souers, and husband Don; Patricia Twomey, and husband Terry; Ramona Hastings and Michael Hastings; stepchildren: Kevin McDermott and Marty Barker; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; nieces; and cousins Patsy Billings and Bobby Walston.
Dad was preceded in death by his parents and his four brothers: Harold, Joe, Walter, and Freddie.
We would like to acknowledge and thank his amazing caregiver Gloria, with assistance from Elvira, Rolando, Carlos, and the staff at Dean's Care Villa for taking care of Dad daily for the past year.
We also want to thank Bristol Hospice for their compassion and care for the last six months of Dad's life.
A special thanks to Carl Sparks and Don Allen for their decades-long friendship with Dad, for being there for him and assisting our family during this difficult time.
Chapel Service will be held at 10:00 AM, Wednesday March 8, 2023, at Doughty Calhoun O'Meara Funeral Home, 1100 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield.
Graveside Services will follow at 12:30 PM at the Bakersfield National Cemetery, 30338 East Bear Mountain Blvd., Arvin, CA.
A Reception and Celebration of Life will immediately follow at Hodel's Country Dining, 5917 Knudsen Dr, Bakersfield, CA.
We sincerely appreciate any donations in Memory of James Lewis Walston, to the Bristol Hospice Foundation, 1227 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301 or at bristolhospicefoundationca.org
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Starts at 12:30 pm (Pacific time)
Bakersfield National Cemetery