Longtime Mill Valley Resident Rasella Dies at 93

Former teacher and lover of the arts is survived by his wife, four children, 10 grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.

Joseph James "Jim" Rasella passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 2, 2012. He was 93.

Born Sept. 3, 1918, Jim was a resilient young man who left behind a difficult childhood and graduated valedictorian from Arcata High School in 1937 with his suitcase stashed in the bushes. He went on scholarship to Carrol College in Montana, intending to study for the priesthood-until he met his roommate's sister Gwen.

Drafted out of college, he served five years in the Pacific Theater, returning to Gwen and starting their family in San Francisco and on to Mill Valley. James was a high school history teacher at Washington H.S in SF until McCarthyism disagreed with him and his bohemian ways. He then turned to his love of nature and founded James Gardening Service.

Jim was a leader in the Marin Folk Dance Federation, loved traveling about Mexico, cooking for his family, and never doubted anyone's interest in hearing him tell the history of the opera he was watching. Jim's surviving wife, Gwen, four children, 10 grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren will always be grateful for his inspiration in creating and finding beauty in life - and the wonders that can be done with a hot glue gun.

Rosary will be held Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 6:30 p.m. and his funeral mass will be celebrated Thursday, January 5 at 10 a.m., both at in Mill Valley. Donations may be made to the Disabled American Veterans in honor of Joseph. Arrangements by Adobe Creek Funeral Home, Petaluma, CA. Cheda & Lyons - Directors 415-883-8070.


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