Jim Landis, son, brother, husband, father grandfather and friend of many, passed away peacefully on Oct. 7, one day after his 61st wedding anniversary at age 83, after confronting a long illness with the same courage, resiliency and good humor that pervaded all aspects of his life.
Jim was born in 1934 to James and Maida Landis in Fresno, Calif. Jim was the middle of 3 children. Jim was predeceased by him mom, dad, older sister, Gloria.
Jim graduated from Richmond High School in 1951. He served in the US Army for two years during the Korean War. When he returned, he went to the minor leagues with the Chicago White Sox as a baseball player. in 1956 he met and married Sandra Foster. They were married for 61 years.
After Spring Training in 1957, he was brought up to the Major league team in Chicago. For the next 11 years, Jim played major league baseball with the Sox, Cleveland Indians, KC Athletics, Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros. In 1959 he played in the World Series against the LA Dodgers. He also won 5 Gold Gloves during his career in the major leagues. In 2016 the Chicago Tribune and fans voted him “The Best All-Time Chicago Center Fielder” for which he felt so honored.
Jim and his wife, Sandy, have 4 loving children, Vicki (Galbie), Craig (Laura), Mike and Michele. They traveled all over the US with him and had wonderful experiences as children, meeting many friends and enjoying the life in baseball. Several of his former teammates have flown in from other states to visit him and talk about “old baseball days”. The Landis home was an open one, and Jim was a beloved second father to many of his children’s friends. They were always welcomed with a warm smile and a loving friendship. Jim loved spending time with his family and friends. He loved all sports and playing cards with his “old buddies”. He was very fortunate to have these Richmond High Oilers still coming to visit on a regular basis and enjoying the company of these friends from grammar school and on. Jim’s prize possession with his 5 wonderful grandchildren—James Landis (Brittany), Kyle and Matt Stafford, Tyler and Olivia Landis. His eyes lit up just speaking and seeing them and enjoying their sports and accomplishments over the years. He was lucky to see two of the boys graduate from college recently and seeing a wedding of his oldest grandson, James. Jim and Sandy have so many couple friends that they traveled with over the years and had many exciting adventures and laughs together. His family can’t thank these friends enough, as it made Jim’s day to have them come for lunch and weekly visits. A big thank you to his sister, Ann, for flying up for visits and morale boosting, and his in-laws Grand and Laurie Jones for their help. A special thank you to his dear, childhood friend, George Harmon, who never missed a Monday lunch with Jim in over 4 years. His family greatly appreciates the constant parade of visitors and phone calls and they were proof of how much he was loved. The family and all who knew this remarkable man are asked to cherish and remember the great times they had with him.
The Landis family would like to thank the many health professionals who took care of Jim. Thank you to Dr. Winter and to Brookdale Assisted Living and their caring caregivers. Their love and concern and attention to Jim during his final weeks was very reassuring and we are extremely grateful.
In lieu of flowers and other gifts, donations are requested in honor of Jim Landis for the Vintage High School Athletic Hall of Fame Foundation, c/o Cam Neal, Vintage High School, 1375 Trower Ave., Napa, California 94558 or a charity of choice.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Tulocay Cemetery and Funeral Home, 411 Coombsville Rd., Napa, California 94559. A Celebration of Life will be held immediately following.
Words of sympathy may be sent to the family on-line at www.tulocaycemetery.org.