James Zanner Obituary (1941 – 2021) – Puyallup, WA

Dr. James Zanner
October 1, 1941 – November 17, 2021
Puyallup, Washington – Dr. James “Jim” Paul Zanner of Puyallup, WA passed away peacefully in Rancho Mirage, CA on November 17, 2021, at the age of 80. A beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He will be deeply missed by so many.
Jim was born in Saginaw, Michigan to Frank and Albena Zanner on October 1, 1941. He was the middle child of 3 kids with his older brother Frank and younger sister Mary. He enjoyed many childhood years of hunting with his dad and brother and fishing with them on the Great Lakes.
Jim met his sweetheart, Julie, in college when they were placed together as Zoology lab partners. They moved on together and both graduated from the University of Michigan where Jim received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. After getting his Michigan State dental license, he worked locally for a short time before joining the Army as a Captain. He was assigned to a base near Stuttgart, Germany. Jim and Julie spent 3 wonderful years here, diving into the culture and exploring Europe together. This experience sparked their interest to later travel to many countries around the world. In the Army, Jim received the National Defense Service medal award in recognition of exemplary service.
After his military service, long-time dental friends encouraged Jim and Julie to come to Washington State to take the state’s dental boards. In 1971, Jim built and began his dental practice on South Hill in Puyallup where he truly enjoyed his patients and staff until he retired in 1997. *During his early years in practice, Jim and Julie volunteered for several years during Children’s Dental Health Month where they put on a dental puppet show to Puyallup 3rd graders using puppets they brought back from Germany. He was an active member in the Pierce County Dental Society serving a term as president. He was also in the Dental House of Delegates at the state level for 5 years. Jim’s dental practice began in 1971 and after 50 years is still growing today under the ownership of Dr. Steve Broughton and his staff at Light Dental Studios.
Jim came home every day after work and went for a run. He started running in the Sound to Narrows race in its 2nd year and ran it for over 25 years. Being a competitor, he often placed in his age group and always had a goal time he was trying to reach and usually did. His last Sound To Narrows was in 2010 where he joyfully ran with his daughters, Sara and Aimee. He also enjoyed many fun years running with the local Hash House Harriers.
Being a savvy businessman, Jim made a number of sound investments. In 1996, this led to his pinnacle project collaborating with his good friend, Bram Dally, to build Willow Springs Apartment Homes on South Hill. Under their leadership, Willow Springs won many Grand Prize performance awards in the South Puget Sound.
After retirement, Jim volunteered his dental services in Tacoma for a few years giving dentistry to people in need. He was always a man looking to give back to his community. Jim and Julie were snowbirds in Palm Desert, CA in their retirement years. During their free time, Jim enjoyed volunteering in the reading program in Coachella, reading English to Spanish speaking school children. Jim and Julie also volunteered cooking for people at Martha’s Soup Kitchen in Indio.
Jim was a very gifted artist. This is evidenced by his designing and making of stained-glass windows, wood working projects, and creating beautiful landscaping around their home. He spent many years playing tennis, golf, running, road and mountain biking, skiing, fishing, and dancing with Julie. His latest hobby was learning to fly model airplanes in California. He was always working on a project! Jim was an amazing photographer and was constantly taking photos of family and friends at events and celebrations. He knew just when to snap the right shot and many of his friends and family have lasting memories because of the love and care he gave to this “hobby” of his.
Jim loved to golf! It brought him so much joy over the years and he truly appreciated the camaraderie with friends and shared love of the game with Julie. He was a member at Tacoma Country and Golf Club and Ironwood Country Club. He was also a past member at Desert Island Golf and Country Club and spent many happy years playing tennis as a resident and member at the Palm Desert Tennis Club. He was invited to be a walking scorekeeper for many years at the Bob Hope Classic in California and got the opportunity to be a Marshal at the U.S. Open at Chamber’s Bay in University Place.
Jim touched so many lives professionally and personally. He started every day with a cheerful “Top of the morning!”. He was loving, even-tempered, generous and had the best smile. He always said he was living the dream! Our family has so many wonderful memories created through his love of life. Family vacations will live on in memory forever. He could do anything he set his mind to with excellence and grace. Dancing, fishing, ice skating, building…the list of his talents is endless.
Jim is survived by Julie, his wife and soulmate for 55 years, daughters Sara Fassett (Jonathan Anderson ‘Jono’) and Aimee McGuire (Jason), sister Mary Londry (Jerry), grandchildren: Jordyn, Taylor, Reece, and Nathan ‘Nate’, and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Frank and Albena Zanner, brother Frank, nephew Chad Londry, and grandniece Haley Londry.
There will be a Celebration of Life at the Pioneer Park Pavilion in Puyallup, WA on Wednesday August 10 from 2-5 PM.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to “Be The Match” at www.bethematch.org. 800-507-5427. We have had two family members who needed a donor for a bone marrow transplant and found them across the world through this amazing program.

Published by News Tribune (Tacoma) on Jul. 31, 2022.

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