Cover photo for James Greenwood's Obituary
James Greenwood Profile Photo

James Greenwood

d. March 13, 2019

James Greenwood

JAMES R. GREENWOOD (“JIM”)
March 27, 1943 â€" March 13, 2019

Beloved father, husband, brother, and son. Entrepreneur, raconteur, veteran, and darn good ping-pong player. He had a big brain and an even bigger heart, and he loved his family, his work, classic cars, Nicola Tesla, science fiction, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Roy Orbison, and Buddy Holly.

Born and raised in New Jersey by his parents Gladys and Jim, alongside two sisters â€" Joan and Jeri â€" Jim grew up loving comic books and cars. He often went sailing on the boat his father built in their backyard, and they once got caught in a hurricane while attempting to sail to Bermuda. At eighteen, Jim enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in West Germany, where he worked with missiles. On the base, he fixed up American cars and began taking college courses. He loved telling stories about his time in the Air Force, driving at mind-boggling speeds on the autobahn and averting a near-disaster with a missile in the blockhouse.

He attended college on the G.I. Bill at Rutgers University, where he created a computer program that wrote poetry and met his wife, Meredith Mustard. They continued seeing each other long-distance as he earned his PhD in Physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Jim & Meredith married in 1972 in New Jersey, and moved to California in 1976 where he was instrumental in the creation of the innovative computer system that controlled and focused the Shiva laser at Lawrence Livermore Labs.

In 1978 he moved to Berkeley, where his daughter Kenda was born. He became an entrepreneur, starting several innovative businesses and working on the cutting edge of the Silicon Valley start-up boom. He made amazing homemade french fries and fresh-squeezed grape-lemonade from the lemon tree in the backyard.

In 2003 Jim and Meredith became parents to Chris, who Jim adored with his whole heart. They moved to Pennsylvania in 2004 where they lived in a converted stone barn house, which became Jim’s pet project. He remodeled the house with his own hands and spent as much time as possible with Chris.
Jim was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Degeneration in 2013, a form of dementia that eventually led to his death. He had family beside him, holding his hand as he passed into the next life.

Jim is survived by his son Chris; daughter Kenda and her husband, Shane; wife Meredith; sister Joan and her husband Bob; sister Jeri; and his nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Like another blue-eyed man used to sing, “…you did it your way”. We will always love you and carry you in our hearts. Your spirit is free.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration .

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Greenwood, please visit our flower store.

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