James Kikuo Shiraishi: A Life Filled With Love, Adventure, Great Dignity and Kindness

This section includes both obituaries and memories. Honoring our loved ones who have died does not end immediately after their passing. We recognize that… so we’re extending our obituary section to include individuals who may have left a long time ago. If you want to remember someone who is gone, either recently or longer ago, please send a photo and a few sentences to mskymkemp@gmail.com.

James Kikuo ShiraishiJames Kikuo Shiraishi


Jim was born on October 30,1953 in Stockton, California. He became ill in March and was diagnosed with cancer in October. Sadly, Jim passed away in his home on Hooter Ridge in Salmon Creek shortly after dawn on December 9, 2018. He was 65 years old.

Jim was third generation Sansei Japanese-American. He was the eldest of three sons and deep admired and love by his younger brothers Richard and Calvin. In 1958 Jim’s family moved from Stockton to San Francisco and eventually settled in the suburbs of South San Francisco. Jim’s mother, Yemi, still lives in the family home.

After graduating from high school in 1971, Jim attended Cal Poly Pomona. He received degrees in Architectural Landscaping and Botany and lived and worked for several years in Southern California.

In 1977, Jim met Joy Call who was the sister of one of his friends. Joy invited Jim to come to Humboldt County. Jim accepted the invitation and fell in love with Southern Humboldt. He purchased property in 1980 and moved with his first wife Dorothy Cox and step-son Josh Cox.

Jim met Rae Allen at The Palace Bar in Ferndale in 1986. A mutual friend introduced them thinking they would be a good match. Jim and Rae quickly fell in love and Rae moved from Ferndale to the Hideaway house within a year of their meeting. Rae’s children, Jesse and Mea, joined them and a warm, family home was created and often filled with family and friends. Jim and Rae were married in San Pancho, Mexico in 1995. They began building their dream home on their Salmon Creek property in 2007. They moved into their beautiful home on the ridge in 2016.

Jim worked in the industry for many years. He was a skilled and talented gardener/farmer, a dear and compassionate friend and a fabulous cook who was often in the kitchen clad in an apron with a smile on his face. Jim was a special “Boppy” to his grandkids who looked forward his hugs and the special foods he cooked just for them.

Jim leaves Rae his wife and partner in life; his son Jesse Allen and wife Ronnie Chausse and their girls Ruby, Pella and Oona; his daughter Mea Terrell and husband Kyle Terrell and their children Olivia James (named after her Boppy) Coulter and Griffin and Cece Terrell; his step-son Cyrus Allen; his beloved sister-in-law Jill Girard and her children Tesa, Aaron, and Shane and Jill’s granddaughter Kaleia; and mother-in-law Cookie. Jim was pre-deceased by his father in 2003, and his first wife and son Dorothy and Josh Cox.

Jim lived an amazing life filled with love, adventure, great dignity and kindness. There was absolutely no person who met him that was not dazzled by his beaming smile, his warm heart and his generous nature. He will be so greatly missed by his family and his community.

It was Jim’s wish to have a small family gathering in Baja to scatter his ashes in the ocean that he loved and visited yearly.



  • Love to all his family and friends.

  • A lovely tribute to a beautiful soul. My life is enriched by having met Jim and those times spent in his company. My sincerest condolences Rae and family.

  • Sad news. Rae, Jesse, Mea and all of your extended family: Blessings to you all. Jim was a rare person. I can’t begin to imagine the extent of your feelings of loss, but you are all in our hearts at this moment. Much love to you…. Joan, Suzanne and David

  • I’ll echo Donna: a beautiful tribute for a beautiful soul. Chris and I continue to think about Jim, and send much love and sympathy to Rae and everyone in your family. Some people leave a huge hole in the fabric of our lives, but so much remembered joy and love as well. It’s the yin and yang of someone like Jim: his death hurts so much, but you sure wouldn’t trade that for never having known him. I will always think of him with a big smile, and picture that heart-warming smile of his.

  • Even now, we can’t read this without tears. We miss him so deeply, and hold him and the family in our hearts.

  • Jim had a way of making you feel special and loved. He was a beautiful human being, full of love and an infectious laugh. He will be so missed. I wish the family love and light during these hard times.

  • Rae, I too will always remember Jim with a beaming, beautiful smile on his face… a smile that was a direct connection to his open heart. As a Eureka-based member of the Hospice Flaming Chefs I only got to see Jim once or twice a year. Prior to those Hospice fundraising events Jim would often call me to make sure I knew I was invited, welcomed, and valued as a volunteer. That was pure Jim: his many gifts included encouraging, embracing, and welcoming others into his world. In 2015 I sat at the bedside of a family member as she died in late August just 8 days before Hospice’s Taste Of The Cove. And like clockwork, there came Jim’s phone call a few days later inviting and requesting my participation. As I would fully expect from Jim, he was consoling, tender, and supportive in assuring me to take care of myself first and the event would take care of itself… words of wisdom from a man known for his kindness, his love, and his smile.

  • Thomas Road Oldie But Moldie

    Oh. I had not heard. Such a loss! I always experienced Jim with a positive attitude and warm, welcoming way of being. I agree with Julieann, I always felt like a special friend when with him. People like Jim have an important place in a society that is best served by those who genuinely support and love one another.
    Thank you Jim for uplifting me and others, and for modeling a positive and loving way of being!
    PS: Not mentioned in his nice obituary is the farming Jim did with shetaki mushrooms. (Using tan oak tree trunks as the ‘fertile ground’ to grow them). Yum!

  • Like so many have said, there was never a time that I met Jim that he wasn’t warm, open and loving, and with that big smile. It makes me glad to know that he found Rae and made such a wonderful family. His legacy is one of love; may we all be so lucky. Happy trails, Jim, see you on the other side.

  • May Jim rest in peace.

  • Logging on and seeing the news of Jim’s passing is truly overwhelming. My wife Lisa and I lived next door to Jim, Rae and their wonderful family in Salmon Creek. Jim was such a great person. Introduced to Jim when we first moved to Hideaway, by my Humboldt friend of 40-years, Ted K, we immediately were shown a level of generosity and acceptance that we will never forget. We were treated like family from the start. Jim’s willingness to provide friendship, botanical expertise and the warmest of smiles was freely offered. Not to mention some unforgettable holiday meals, festive parties and chillin’ with some of the coolest people we’ve ever met. Our deep affection and respect will never fade. To all the members of Jim’s family, we send our heartfelt sympathies. R.I.P., Friend.

  • What a beautiful and loving obituary for a kind & caring man. The picture you chose was perfect. That smile is how I like to remember Jim. He was always smiling, happy to see you. Fond memories of him as a “Flaming Chef”. My heart aches for Rae & family. So glad you found each other in this great big world….some things are just meant to be…May the memories you cherish help you thru this very hard time. RIP JIM. Hugs to Rae

  • Jim was such a friendly man, in the early 80s a friend sent me to see him, never met him until that day, one would think he knew you for years, such a great guy, he gave me a mushroom book that day, i just pulled it of the shelf, looking at it the same way i did the day i was given the book by a man i just met with a heart of gold. Rip shiitake Jim.

  • The late afternoon sun on our faces sipping Briceland’s best on Beginnings deck. Talking the Niners at the Moon. Laughing about his mom telling him to get a haircut. A good man gone too soon.

  • Jim was an incredible man. I was very lucky to have known him my entire life. For sure one of the coolest guys you’d ever meet. Many condolences to his family!

  • Sending so much love to his family. He was such a kind person. 💙👼 dance with the angels now Jim 👼💙

  • Nancy Kaytis-Slocum

    So sorry to hear this Rae, and for the loss of your life partner. Sending love your way!

  • Sad news.Jim was a great and loving man.His smiles Will be missed.great tribute.i think I introduced Jim and Rae in Ferndale.love to the family

  • Our time a healing is here and now. Our time a healing coincides with the planet in crisis. The need for Global action Defenders of the Land Water Forest Air Protectors of the Planet. The rage of War is not a art it is a crying shame. One step at a time we learn to walk on Sacred Ground the Ghost Dance belongs to us. As we listen to our ancestors take care of the Garden it will heal your Hart’s many spirits and many hands well help a new beginning for the Children as we walk into the heaven’s. The Phoenix Tears have fallen our time of Healing is here.

    Take care my friends
    Be at peace Jim

  • How can we not grieve our loss when someone dear to us moves on to the next world?

    There is a wound in our hearts where Jim resided but it will heal, and soon enough we’ll join him in the next Great Adventure.

    The world was a better place for Jim’s having been in it, and we who were fortunate enough to know him were the beneficiaries.

    Godspeed, Jim, and big hugs for the family.

  • ~warmest outreach of heart-felt hugs for Jim’s family, and all of you people who had the honor of knowing him and being a part of his life.

  • Thanks Kym, for providing this lovely tribute, and the opportunity for others to show their feelings about Jim. “Uncle Jimmy” and “Auntie Rae” were the very best friends to me and my family as we were struggling through our messy lives, they always provided a haven of sanity and good feeling. What they had together was bigger than just two lives, their relationship was a fine balance of art and practicality. We will miss you Jimmy, and hope that your love continues to be felt by all who know you.

  • Rae, sorry for loss…much love!

  • I am sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. I pray for him and you both!

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