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James Edward Raaum was born on January 20, 1949, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Olger Olander Raaum and Katheryne Rose (Erhardt) Raaum. James was the eldest of three children. His young childhood was spent moving around the Midwest with his family. It was after WWII, and many families moved around to keep working. By the mid-1950s, the family settled in Salt Lake City, Utah, and this is where they all grew up. James entered the service in the late 1960s, serving his time during the Vietnam War. He was subjected like so many other soldiers, to the Agent Orange sprayed by the government during that time in Vietnam, which would affect him later in his life.

In 1970 James married the love of his life Diane (Isenhour) Raaum. Together they raised three successful children and welcomed five delightful grandchildren to their family. James worked as a maintenance technician for the next 40 years and managed to rebuild several houses in that time. He was a very hard worker with one of the kindest souls to be put on this earth. He was a loving and dedicated husband, father, papa, son, son-in-law, brother, and friend. He touched so many other lives with his sincere, gentle kindness and generosity. He remained close to his siblings throughout his life. James and his brother Bob supported each other in life and were Sunday morning regulars at Ogie's Café in West Valley City.

James was adventurous and loved to travel the U.S. and abroad. He was curious by nature and enjoyed getting to know new places as well as people. His dream for retirement was to travel, he and his wife were able to fulfill that dream traveling to many continents, even returning to Vietnam to see the places he had been as a young soldier. He would also go to Branson MO for a Vietnam Veterans Reunion with his brothers in arms and in Salt Lake City on Tuesdays with a Veterans Group. James had an infectious laugh and loved music; his favorite was classic rock. On Saturday evenings in the summer, you would often "THANK YOU FOR TOUCHING MY LIFE" find him at Carolyn's backyard garden concerts enjoying life, connecting with old friends, and getting to know new ones. Where ever James happened to be, he was well known and loved. He had a unique and enduring departing gesture; he would proclaim, "thank you for touching my life" and outstretch his finger expecting to meet you in a fingertip to fingertip touch, signifying your special importance to him.

James died on March 10, 2020, surrounded by his immediate family. He is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Diane Raaum, Son, Donavan (Dayna) Raaum, daughter, Heather (Shane)Thomas, daughter, Jessica O'Brien. Brother, Robert Raaum, sister Barbara, (Raaum) Fox. Grandchildren: Levi O'Brien, Zoyee Thomas, Ike Thomas, Payton Raaum, Quinton Raaum.

We thank everyone at Hearts for Hospice, Huntsman Cancer Center, George E Wahlen Hospital in Salt Lake, and the George E Wahlen Veterans Home in Ogden for their support, dedication, kindness, and care they generously gave to James and his family. He had a tough fight with Parkinson's and MDS. He is deeply missed and dearly loved. We're so grateful you touched our lives.

Life Story Info

Post Date

Aug 01, 2020


Personal Info






Maintenance Technician

Military Affiliation

  • Army


  • Vietnam War

Worked For

  • C.R. Bard
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building
  • Western Airlines
  • Morton Salt Company
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We are so sorry to hear about Jimmy. I wish we had known sooner. Our sympathies are with you. We would love to hear from you. I am so sorry we lost tract of you overtime.

Joyce text me 8016081028

Thale and JOYCE Ostler , Salt Lake City, UT, US Jan 04, 2021

I miss your advise. I miss our conversations. I miss not having you here to touch my finger and make me smile. I am so grateful to have been your sister. I love you brother.

Barbara Fox , Escondido, CA, US Aug 11, 2020

Jim was a great friend, full of life and love. I first met Jim and Bob when we all worked at IHOP downtown. He had a VW bug and beat the **** out of it. I know his family loves and misses him.

Jack Clark Aug 04, 2020

Missing Jim everyday. Shared so many memories that we made together in Nam. RIP Buddy! Happy we touched lives.

Ron&Vicki Wiebenga , Morrison, IL, US Aug 01, 2020

Come and visit me in my dreams big brother. I love you and miss you. Thank you for touching my life.

Bob Raaum Aug 01, 2020