News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

John W. James, Passed August 10, 2021

John W. James took his last breath on August 10, at the age of 77, after a three-month struggle with liver cancer caused by Agent Orange. John died peacefully in his Sisters home.

John would have turned 47 years sober on August 18. He credits his sobriety with teaching him the importance of service, and he lived his life that way. John founded The Grief Recovery Method more than 40 years ago and was known worldwide for his work and teachings in grief recovery.

John co-authored “The Grief Recovery Handbook” with Frank Cherry and Russell Friedman. Various other books he co-authored with Russell, Dr. Leslie Landon Matthews, and his son, Cole James. These books have been translated into more than 40 languages. “The Grief Recovery Handbook” and The Grief Recovery Method programs can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They have given hundreds of thousands of people the tools they need to heal their grieving hearts. His mission statement was “help the largest amount of grievers in the shortest amount of time.”

John had a profound love for our country, serving as a U.S. Marine and Combat Veteran during the Vietnam War. Military honors include the National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, RVN Campaign Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and the M-14 Rifle Sharpshooter Badge.

John was raised in Danville, Ilinois. His first family was mother, Edith; father, Ralph; and brothers Bruce and Dennis. He played sports throughout his youth, a love that would continue throughout his life.

John is survived by his bride of 40 years, Jess Walton James; his daughter Allison Henry and her husband, Wade; son Cole and his wife, Ashley; grandchildren Wyatt, Bridger, Willa, and Beau James, and James Henry. He is also survived by Marcy Marks, his former wife and mother of his daughter Allison; nephew Bradley James, his wife, Christine, and their daughter Sophia; and his cousins in Alabama: Candy and Mike Baldwin, with daughters Shannon (husband Mike Wilson), and Jami (husband Rick Lightcap).

A small memorial is being planned for Sisters, and a larger one in Los?Angeles, within the next year. Information will be posted on John’s family’s personal Facebook pages.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to The Grief Recovery Research Support Fund at


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