James Russell Goldade, 83, of Grandview passed away on Monday, April 2, 2012, in Grandview, with family at his side.

Jim was born Aug. 24, 1928 in Bowdle, S.D. to Pete and Ruth (Johnson) Goldade. He had one sister, Holly (Wessell).

He grew up in Bowdle and did not leave there until after graduating from high school. and joining the U.S. Army in 1946.

His father was the butter maker at the creamery and his mother was a homemaker and served as Republican chairwoman. Both were active in the small community.

Jim was a typical student who played basketball, baseball and ran track. In 1942 his baseball team made the state tournament playoffs but they had no uniforms to wear so their mothers purchased mattress ticking and sewed the uniforms. Red tape was used to create letters and numbers- all that work and they lost their first game and were knocked out of the tournament.

He served in the U.S. Army for two years 1946 to 1948 and then in 1950 he joined the reserves and was called back to duty in January 1951. He was sent overseas to Japan as a medic. His daughter Jan was born February 1951 and he would not meet her until he returned home in October 1952.

Jim was introduced to the funeral business at the age of 14 when Mr. DeMeligan, owner of the funeral home, would ask him to wash cars, answer phones and do general office tasks.

In 1952 Jim moved his wife and daughter Janice to Grandview. He began working at Smith Funeral Home. He worked there until his retirement in August 1993.

After a short retirement, Jim joined Valley Hills Funeral Home, where he worked for almost 20 years.

Jim had two legacies in life, the families he helped during their darkest hours and the families he played Santa Claus for and created unforgettable memories. He played Santa for about 40 years. Roberta was his Mrs. Claus. She was busy keeping the calendar of request to homes, schools, city functions, and parties, where he was needed. People started calling as early as Thanksgiving to make sure they would be on the schedule. Jim loved being Santa and seeing the children's smiles and listen to their stories.

In April of 1982, he and Roberta Dragoo were married and combined six children and their families. Today they have 14 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Jim and Roberta were members of the Grandview Church of the Nazarene from 1982. They loved their church family.

Jim was a member of the American Legion and VFW.

Jim is survived by his wife, Roberta; five children, Linda (Dragoo) Holstein of Hermistion, Ore., Janice (Goldade) Learing, Frisco, Texas, Ron (Nancy) Goldade of Goldendale, Ron Dragoo of Prosser and Randy (Cindy) Dragoo of Rainier; one sister, Holly (Omer) Wessel of Mound City, S.D.;

He was preceded in death by his parents; one daughter, Connie (Dragoo) Lovett; one granddaughter, Mackenzie Dragoo; and one great-granddaughter, Audie Holstein.

Visitation will be held today, April 5, 2012, from 1 to 6 p.m. at Valley Hills Funeral Home in Sunnyside. Funeral services will be held Friday, April 6, 2012, at 10 a.m. at Grandview Nazarene Church, with burial to follow at East Prosser Cemetery.

Condolences may be sent to

Valley Hills Funeral Home in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements


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