Albert Arthur ‘Al’ James, adored father, husband, colleague and friend, passed away peacefully after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease, on October 3, 2018.

Born on January 24, 1932, in Seattle, the son of Selma and Albert Atchison James and younger brother to Dolores James (Lough), he graduated from Roosevelt HS in 1950 and served in the Naval Reserves as an aviation “radioman”. While attending the University of Washington, he joined Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, establishing close friendships he would treasure all his life. Al worked through college as a journeyman drywall finisher with his father and in 1955 graduated from the UW School of Pharmacy.

After a brief stint working at Bartell Drugs, Al joined fraternity brother Oscar Sandberg in building the House of Values discount store chain, which grew to 7 stores before being sold to Payless Drug Stores. The company became known locally for retail innovation and as a pioneer in offering profit sharing to employees. After House of Values, Al’s entrepreneurial pursuits included active partnership roles in Alpine Windows, Anthony’s Restaurants, and First Western Bank. He also served on the board of the Eastside YMCA.

Al shared his love of skiing with his family (first wife Betty, Linda, Mike and Colleen) spending vacations and weekends on the slopes. In later years, Sun Valley was a second home where he skied strong and fast into his 80’s with kids, grandkids and great grandkids.

When Al married his loving wife of 30 years, Carolynn Patnode James, he welcomed her twin sons Troy and Tracy into his family. Upon retirement, Al and Carolynn were able to travel as he had always dreamed. Al was a warm, inspirational, and joyful soul who brought kindness and generosity to his extended family which includes 5 children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. He never tired of supporting others and encouraging them to be the best they could be.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation ( A celebration of his life will be held at 2pm on November 15 at Overlake Golf and Country Club.

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