James A. Accuntius
August 21, 1947 — June 18, 2020
Jim was born in Walla Walla, to parents Albert and Corina Accuntius. He attended St. Patrick’s Grade School and DeSales High School. To everyone’s surprise, Jim then joined the Army at the height of the Vietnam war. He was sent to Grafenwehr, Germany, and became an Air Traffic Controller. There, he acquired his love of airplanes and flight, an affair that lasted his entire life. He later learned to fly in Renton, WA. Jim rarely missed his annual trip with friends to the Oshkosh, WI AirVenture air show. Airplanes were always his happy place. Jim owned an airplane (alone or in partnership with friends) whether in WA (hauling skydivers) or TX – his last airplane was a 1946 Ercoupe.
Jim returned home after his service and settled in the Tri-Cities, WA and started working for Northwest Laboratories at Hanford. He married Karen Ward and had two children, Theresa and Tom. After his divorce, Jim migrated to Southern California and then on to Texas in 1981. He married Virginia “Gini” Dalen that year, lived in Austin, and moved to Georgetown after a few years. Gini died of cancer in 1998. Later that year, Jim met his soulmate, Sabine Volkmann, in Germany through mutual friends. They were wed in 2003. They both enjoyed travel, airplanes, and meeting friends having good food.
Jim spent most of his career in the field of medical devices. He held seven patents related to the manufacturing of pyrolytic carbon as used for mechanical valves. In 1981 Jim started working for CarboMedics, Austin TX. He joined Kaiser Aerotech in California in 1988. A year later, Jim returned to Austin, working for start-up Carbon Implants and later for Medical Carbon Research Institute (MCRI, Austin). He spent his “retirement” years consulting wherever needed, including three years with ATS Medical, MN. However, most of his time was devoted to working on airplanes and flying his own plane or flying with friends. Around 2007 he started going to Brundage Aviation at the Taylor, TX airport. He had known Bert Brundage since the 80s. Jim started jumping in and helping with any and all maintenance at the shop. He was trusted to take care of the business for months when Bert got sick. In addition, Jim helped several friends who were building airplanes. One brief question for help turned into eight years and about 8000 hours. Jim had a true love for aviation and was very knowledgeable.
Jim is survived by Sabine, his wife of 17 years; his sister, Jean Accuntius of Tacoma, WA; his children, Theresa (Kent) Morrison of Spanaway WA, and Tom (Nikki) Smith of Richland, WA, and their mother Karen Ward-Smith. He is the proud grandfather of four grandchildren – Nick, Chance, Bethany, Reide and Nikki’s kids Ashlynn, Arawin and Trystan.
We will remember Jim in a gathering of friends in Georgetown, TX. He will find his final landing place in his home town of Walla Walla, later this year.
The family wishes to thank the doctors and staff of St. David’s Clinic in Georgetown and St. David’s South Austin Medical Center and the Cancer Care Clinic in South Austin for the care they gave Jim during his illness.
In lieu of flowers please donate to the local Young Eagles program (http://www.eaa187.org) or a charity of your choice.