Jim Cloud was born Dec. 16, 1931, in Meeker, Colo., to James Henry Cloud and Della Mae Vail Cloud. They were thrilled to have a second son. Brother Bill (William Benjamin) was nine years old and felt the blessing of a little brother. Bill ran Meeker streets knocking on doors and announcing the new baby as “Junior.” Junior was the family Christmas present. Both boys were redheads.
Jim Cloud was born Dec. 16, 1931, in Meeker, Colo., to James Henry Cloud and Della Mae Vail Cloud. They were thrilled to have a second son. Brother Bill (William Benjamin) was nine years old and felt the blessing of a little brother. Bill ran Meeker streets knocking on doors and announcing the new baby as “Junior.” Junior was the family Christmas present. Both boys were redheads.Jim attended Meeker Grade School and Petrolite country school before attending high school at Rio Blanco County High School and graduating with the class of 1950. Upon graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, spending time at Long Beach and Subic Bay in the Philippines.In December 1951 Jim married his high school sweetheart, Dona Rae Howey. Their first home was in Long Beach, Calif. On Jan. 15, 1953, a daughter, Tracey Ann, was born in Craig, Colo. Jim was stationed in the Philippines and did not see his daughter until she was a year and a half old. He always thought of her birthday on January 16 because he was across the International Date Line when she arrived.Jim was discharged from the Navy in 1954 and returned home to Meeker, Colo., and went to work for the REA as a line electrician for the next five years. On March 10, 1955, a son, William Kirk, was born in Meeker, Colo. Now the family was complete, a girl and a boy.The family took a trip to see relatives in Washington state in 1958. They fell in love with the Olympic Peninsula. Jim was an avid fisherman. He enjoyed some big-time salmon fishing off Neah Bay and in the straits of Juan de Fuca. He loved the forests, streams, beaches and lakes. On the way home the family talked of returning to the peninsula. By the time they had reached Idaho, plans were made to sell their home in Meeker and return to Washington. Jim gave two weeks notice to his REA job, sold their home, rented a U-Haul and the family left for the Olympic Peninsula. They never regretted the move. The family made yearly visits to Meeker for fishing and visiting with friends and relatives.Jim went to work for Crown Zellerbach Mill in the fall of 1958. In about 1975 he applied for jobs at the dams on the Elwha River: Glines and Aldwell. First he did line work and relief work operating at the dams. Then he became a full-time shift operator at the Aldwell Dam. He enjoyed his days on the Elwha. The fish, wildlife and the job. He loved the everyday work and the challenges working with the proud old generators and other equipment, helping keep them gleaming and generating power. He retired from the “dam” job in 1992. (Those dams are now being removed.)The family lived in rented houses and in an apartment before buying a home on the corner of Seventh and Washington in 1960. This was home for 13 years. School for the kids was just up the hill and the mill job a short drive away. In 1973 it was decided the family should move to the country so they bought two acres on Garling Road. Jim and contractors built a mansard (barn) roofed, two-story house. Son Kirk and friend dug the drain field. The family lived in an old trailer and the kids each had a camper trailer to call their own while the new house was being built. Tracey was a senior soon to fly the nest and Kirk wasn’t far behind.Jim took classes at Peninsula College, got his Ham Radio license and enjoyed events with the club. He taught 4-H girls about wiring lamps and early computer theory. He worked on clocks, TVs and radios in his spare time, fished and camped. He became a member of a model airplane club and enjoyed flying models and teaching others to fly.Jim built two other homes in the Port Angeles area. In 1985 he built the last home. It was a three-story geodesic dome. He also built a large shop to house “men’s” stuff: tractor, motorcycle, whatever. He loved his Ford tractor and the job of keeping it going. Jim retired in 1992. He volunteered for the Clallam County Historical Society for 20 years doing maintenance and electrical work. The dome home was sold in 2007 when his health failed. The new homeowner was a tractor lover, and Jim was delighted that his tractor was going to be cared for as tractors should be. Jim and Dona moved back into Port Angeles. A house of one floor on one lot was enough.Jim died at home in Port Angeles and is survived by Dona, his wife of 59 years; two children, Tracey Ann Hosselkus and William Kirk Cloud; four grandchildren, Anami Cloud, Jeff Brisbin, Shawnee Cloud and Amber Cloud; and one great-grandchild, Nyyra Cloud.Memorials can be made to the Clallam County Historical Society’s Building Fund at P.O. 1327, Port Angeles, WA 98362.