Jim grew up in the Yakima Valley and attended YVC and WSU. He met his wife, Linda, and married in 1964. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Jim worked for John I. Haas for 37 years and retired in 2001 as Executive Vice President. After retiring, he and his wife bought the Blue Banjo tavern with another business partner. They remodeled the building and opened the Barrel House restaurant and wine bar in 2002. They operated the restaurant until 2008, and sold the building in 2017. During his years at the Barrel House, Jim became much more aware of the homeless situation in Yakima. He joined the Board of JHY in the hope that he can help build solutions for this problem. He also volunteered at the Yakima Red Cross for 10 years.