James H. Whitis, 65, of Yakima passed away on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.

James was born Dec. 13, 1947 in Sunnyside to Lowell and Naomi (Martin) Whitis. He received his early education in Sunnyside, graduating with the Sunnyside High School class of 1966.

James served in the U.S. Military from 1966 to 1968 as a mechanic in Vietnam.

On Sept. 5, 1987 he married Sonia Espinoza in Sunnyside. They were married for 13 years.

He worked for U & I Sugar from 1970 to 1978 and then in 1979 he started working on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation as an Operating Engineer Local 280. He continued his career there for 17 years.

James enjoyed buying and restoring old vintage cars, collecting antiques and reading every newspaper he could get his hands on.

James cherished spending time with his children and family. He was an excellent father and provider.

James is survived by his children, Charles (Victoria) Espinoza and James L. Whitis, both of Yakima, Nathan Whitis, Angella Whitis (Dominik Garcia) and William Whitis, all of Sunnyside; his special friend, Marge Colbert; three grandchildren; siblings, Roger (Tina) Whitis of Sunnyside, Larry J. Whitis of Burbank and Judy (James) Perez of Yakima and Betty (John) Booth of Kennewick.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lowell "Joe" and Naomi Whitis; and brother, Robert L. Whitis.

At the request of James, a private family memorial service will be held at a later date.

Those wishing to sign James' on-line memorial book may do so at

Smith Funeral Homes Ltd. and Crematory in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.


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