May 6, 1943—January 1, 2019
James Douglas Schwandt passed away peacefully on January 1, 2019, in his Montello home. He was born May 6, 1943, in Lodi, California to Wilmer and Erdie (Hieb) Schwandt.
James graduated from Norte Del Rio High in 1961. He worked in several automotive shops before opening his own with a partner in Sacramento. James joined the Golden Banner Motorcycle Club 1963 in Sacramento where he met his late wife Karen. The Club put on many events and participated in community activities including poker runs and performing stunts in parades. He enjoyed bartending at the events that the clubhouse was used for and was the drillmaster for the club’s drill team. In 1970 James moved to Nevada with his father and brother to work in ash mines north of Montello. After moving the family to Nevada they lived in several different places before settling in Montello, where James worked as a miner and mechanic as well as doing many odd jobs such as fencing, construction, and creating balancing figures made of horseshoe nails, wire, and nuts. He began building his own shop in 1978 and completed it in 1981 where he opened his own mechanic business that ran until 2001 when it was closed to the public due to him suffering a massive stroke. James would work on any problem he was presented with in the shop, but specialized in engine rebuilding and repair. During his time in Montello, James served on the town board, was a volunteer firefighter, played Santa, and enjoyed drinking coffee every morning at a local restaurant/bar with other patrons among many other activities. He made a living working on farm equipment and railroad vehicles. James spent the remainder of his life tinkering in his shop, surrounded by friends and family.
He was preceded in death by his parents Wilmer and Erdie (Hieb) Schwandt, brother Tom Schwandt, wife Karen (Hopping) Schwandt, and son Denis Evans. James is survived by son James (Marleen) and daughter Heidi (Chris). He will be lovingly remembered by his two granddaughters Sage and Jerrika (Jonny), his great-grandson Tucker, as well as his nieces and nephews. We will miss him greatly.
A Celebration of Life Potluck will be held on Saturday, January 12 at 12:30 p.m. at the Montello School.