Jim “Wigs” Wiggins lived his life to the fullest with three main passions: family, friends, and sports. On February 21, 2019, Jim passed away at his home, surrounded by his loved ones, after a long and valiant fight against heart disease. His laughter and presence will be missed by all who knew him.
Jim was born in Napa on December 10, 1943 to Zola and Wilford Wiggins. He grew up attending St. John’s Catholic school, Ridgeview Junior High, and graduated a proud Napa Indian, class of ‘62. While in high school, Jim was a tri-sport athlete, excelling in baseball, basketball, and football. There wasn’t a sport that Jim couldn’t play, and he continued to love “the game” throughout his life. Besides his athletic achievements, he was senior class Vice President and was involved in many high school activities. His high school years were made all the more fun with his sidekicks Les Franco and Denny Nevin, his childhood friends since St. John’s, who remained his closest friends his entire life. It was also during high school in 1961 when Jim met his sweetheart, Barbara Burnam. Following graduation, Jim attended San Jose State University where he played football. He returned to Napa after one year and attended Napa Junior College. It was during his time back home when he and Barbara married on January 24, 1964, and in 1965 they welcomed their first daughter, Kim. Jim and Barbara later moved to San Luis Obispo where Jim graduated from Cal Poly University in 1967 and their daughter, Stacee, was born.
Jim’s career as a CPA began with a national accounting firm, Coopers & Lybrand in Los Angeles, where they lived for 6 years and welcomed their third daughter, Wendy, to the family. In 1972, Jim was transferred to Washington where he and his family lived on Mercer Island for 9 years. The Washington years were a happy time for Jim and his family filled with boating, tennis, golf, and family activities, creating many lasting memories and fun stories. Eventually Napa beckoned them home and Jim moved his family back in 1981. He joined Lyle Jensen’s firm as a CPA and it became Jensen & Wiggins. For over 30 years, Jim worked at both his firm and independently, and still managed a few clients up until the end of his life.
Jim was a family man and most enjoyed being at home, entertaining friends, barbequing, and laughing with his kids or giving them tips on perfecting their tennis serve. Jim’s greatest joys were his family and his friends (who were like family), spending weekends together golfing and in his later years, meeting up every Tuesday at Napa Valley Country Club. When at home, Jim could barbeque anything and everything; his barbequed Thanksgiving turkey was famous long before chefs made it popular. A gregarious man with a larger than life presence, everything he did was his way: “Wig’s Way”. In his spare time, he could be found in the stands cheering his daughters’ and granddaughters’ sporting events and also coached JV football for Napa High in the 1980s. Active in the community as well, he was on the board of Hands Across the Valley, Napa Valley Country Club and loved playing a role in the Chef’s Market and annual parades in downtown Napa. As their children grew up and the family became larger, Jim and Barbara’s house remained the magnet that brought their daughters, sons-in-law, and granddaughters together. A life full of family, friends and sports is what made Jim the happiest.
Jim will be missed by his adoring family and wife of 55 years, Barbara Burnam Wiggins, daughter Kim and husband Chris Henderson, daughter Stacee Cootes, daughter Wendy and husband Steve Lombardi, granddaughters Hailey and Olivia Henderson and Sierra and Kaylee Cootes, his extended family of cousins in Nebraska and Iowa, and his family of lifelong friends. His furry family, Lucy and Ethel, brought him much joy as well. His family would like to give heartfelt thanks and recognition to his two doctors who supported and cared for him over the years, Dr. Ruscheinsky and Dr. Manubens.
In lieu of flowers, please offer a donation in Jim’s name to Queen of the Valley Medical Center and/or Napa Humane. At Jim’s request, no services will be held. It’s “Wig’s Way”.
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