JIM CRENNA

Jimmie D. Crenna, was born in Redmond, WA on May 28, 1930. He passed away at his home in Hobart, WA on January 23, 2018. Jim was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Dora Jean Scott (DJ) and his daughter Deborah, both in 2016. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Jackie & Malcolm Currie, his granddaughter Dianna and her husband Charles, his grandson Jamie and his wife Maranda along with four great grandchildren.

When Jim was very young, he traveled around the State with his dad and mom, Dante and Alice, following heavy construction jobs. The family finally settled on a house boat in Rainier Beach and eventually in 1935 the family home on Lake Washington was purchased. Jim attended Emerson Elementary School and Renton Junior/Senior High School graduating in 1948. Jim loved cars from the time he was a little boy and the love stayed with him throughout his school days. His nick-name at RHS was “Hot Rod”.

After high school Jim worked at various jobs and finally ended up working with his dad at Glacier Sand & Gravel driving a cement mixer. Jim worked with a group of great guys at Glacier including Wally Scott. One day Jim, his dad and a couple of the other guys took a trip to Hobart to see Wally’s farm. There he met Wally’s young daughter, Dora Jean. She was a good-looking gal, very popular and a cheer leader at Tahoma High School. On the way back to Seattle, one of the guys, George Corner, made Jim a bet that he couldn’t get a date with Wally’s daughter. Jim not only got that date but ended up marrying the love of his life, August 3, 1951.

Jim’s love for cars never died. In the late 50’s and early 60’s he worked at his job during the day, worked on a race car at night and raced the stock car at Seattle/Tacoma Raceway on the weekends.

Jim had a wrecking yard on what was Empire Way in the 50’s; in the 60’s and 70’s a Used Car lot in Rainier Beach; later Crenna/Merlino Used Cars in Columbia City which became Columbia Auto Center (Jim’s dealer # is 0027) and Columbia Marina located next to the car lot. On May 1st, 1979, Jim and DJ opened the doors of Columbia Towing with three Chevrolet (AT) tow trucks and one employee. They bid and were awarded the City of Seattle towing and storage contract in September of 1979 and never looked back. When they retired in 1996 they had 22 trucks and 27 employees.

Throughout the years, Jim and DJ were active members of the Rainier Yacht Club and enjoyed cruising in the San Juan Islands or getting away for a couple days in their motor home. When they finally retired in 1996, they spent their time between Arizona, Whidbey Island and Maple Valley (Hobart).

Jim was one of the “good guys”. He was everyone’s friend, loved by many and will be missed by all. A celebration of Jim’s life is planned for Saturday, MARCH 3rd beginning at 2pm at the family home in Hobart. Please email CrennaMemorial@gmail.com for information or if you have a special story about Jim you’d like to share with the family.




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