April 16, 1924 ~ January 13, 2007
Cragin, James Walter, an 82 year resident and native of Gardena, passed away peacefully with family members at his side, at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance on Saturday, January 13, 2007, after battling cancer. Jim proudly served in the Navy during WWII, and was in Tokyo Bay on the Battleship USS Idaho and witnessed the surrender of Japan. After the war, he worked as an insurance adjuster for 36 years. Jim's interest in community service led to his being appointed to numerous civic commissions and committees and to 19 years of uninterrupted service as a member of Gardena's City Council, including three terms as Mayor Pro Tem. Jim represented Gardena as chairman of the South Bay Cities Association and as president of the Independent Cities Association. Jim was Vice Chairman on the MTA board, having been elected by his peers. He also served the community on several transportation-related committees and the L A County Tax Appeals Board. He was a commissioner with the Sybil Brand Commission. In his political career, Jim was noted for his genuine concern for his constituents, ethical standards in government, his love for the city of Gardena and service to the larger community. This was evidenced by his service in the Elks Lodge, Kiwanis Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Moose Lodge. Jim was a board member and director at Junipero Serra High School where his three sons attended. As a prominent member of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Gardena, Jim served as an altar boy in his youth, was one of the original seven Eucharistic Ministers, president of the YMI and Head Usher. Jim was an avid life-long sports enthusiast, and his particular passion was Notre Dame football.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Cragin of Gardena; brother Harold Cragin; daughter Carol (Ken) Howe; sons John (Sue), Gary (Janet), and Larry (Betty); 8 Scherer stepchildren; 23 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 38 years, Janice Cragin, and 3 grandchildren. He will be lovingly remembered by his family, friends, associates and the people he served during his many years in public office.
There will be viewing from 1-5pm Friday at McMillan McCormick Mortuary in Gardena. A Vigil service will be held on Friday at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Gardena on Friday, January 19 at 7pm. The Funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 20 at 11:30am also at St. Anthony of Padua Church. Burial will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, followed by a reception in the St. Anthony Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the American Cancer Society.
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