James “Jim” Charles Clair
March 27, 1950 – April 8, 2020
On April 8,2020, after a courageous three-year battle with cancer, James
“Jim” Charles Clair, 70, passed in his beloved home of 38 years in Hood
River, OR surrounded by his loving family.
Jim was born March, 27 1950 in Lancaster, PA and was the son of the
late Harriet E. Clair (Snipes) and Charles L. Clair. Shortly after Jim’s birth
the family relocated to his mother Harriet’s home town of Portland, OR.
It is in Portland where Jim continued the family tradition as a fifth
generation Oregonian. Jim resided in southeast Portland, attending
Meriwether Lewis (K-8) and Cleveland High School where he graduated
in 1968. At the age of 16, Jim was already courting Debra Ann Driver
(Clair), who would become his wife of 48 years.
During his cherished years at Cleveland, Jim’s love of baseball blossomed, fostering relationships with
many whom he cherished deeply. Recognitions included All-City first team, All-State first team, 1967 City
Championship (undefeated regular season), two-time induction to the Cleveland High School Athletic Hall
of Fame, as well as the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) Hall of Fame. Jim’s love of baseball continued
to Lewis & Clark College where he graduated in June of 1972, the same week marrying his high school
sweetheart. College honors included All Northwest Conference First-Team, and he also pitched a perfect
game in 1969 with the Hillsboro Blacksocks during their undefeated season.
While Jim had many athletic accomplishments, he was most proud of his family. In 1982, in pursuit of
writing a new chapter, Jim relocated his family from the Eastmoreland neighborhood of Portland, OR to
Hood River, OR. Jim’s career progressed from equity partner to retiring as President of Columbia River
Insurance in 2013, a business running 95 years strong today. Both personally and professionally, Jim left
the world better than he found it. Jim was a pillar in the Columbia Gorge community. He took great pride
in serving on the Hood River Memorial Hospital Board of Directors for 35 years, several years of which he
served as Chairman. Jim was an active Hood River Rotarian, having served as President. He was also a
member of the Hood River Elks Lodge.
Jim took pride in being a life-long athlete. Countless hours were spent fostering relationships with friends
playing tennis, racquetball and running his first marathon in 3:52 at the age of 49. Jim always found time
to volunteer and support youth athletics, both as a coach and enthusiastic mentor. Memorable years were
spent at the family property at Pine Hollow Reservoir. In the sunny years of retirement, Jim valued his
relationships with friends and family, both new and old in Palm Springs, CA.
In Jim’s passing, the world has truly lost a beautiful person, a champion of hospitality towards others and
a best friend to many. If you had a problem, he wanted to help you. If you were having a hard day, he
wanted nothing more than to brighten your spirit. Jim exuded boundless enthusiasm and energy for life.
With an unquenchable thirst to make others around him feel welcome, his warmth and humility will
forever be missed but not forgotten.
Jim leaves a void in the hearts of many. He is survived by his wife Debra A. Clair (Driver), sons Joshua James Clair of Parkdale, OR & Brenton Charles Clair (Kathleen) of Portland, OR and daughter Danielle Ann Clair of San Diego, CA. He is additionally survived by his sister Nancy Clair Adams (Clark) of Davis, CA, Grandchildren Ann Evelyn Clair (2), Wyatt Charles Smith (1), Charles Andrew Clair (7mo), sister in-law
Janice E. Driver, brother-in-law David Rouse, four nieces and three nephews.
Jim will be laid to rest in the Lone Pine Cemetery in Wamic, OR. Due to the current restrictions surrounding
social gatherings, a celebration of life for friends and family will be scheduled and announced at a later
date. Friends are encouraged to leave a note or message of condolence for family at:
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jim’s honor to one of the following charitable
organizations: Cleveland High School baseball hitting facility; Commerce-Cleveland Alumni Association;
Portland Interscholastic League Hall of Fame; or Hood River Memorial Hospital Foundation. Donations
may be sent C/O Anderson’s Tribute Center (1401 Belmont Ave. Hood River, OR 97031).