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James Edward Garland
09/28/1959 — 12/07/2021
From Kennewick, WA | Born in Laramie, WyomingWatch Service
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Celebration of Life
James Edward Garland
James Edward Garland left us to be with our Lord in Heaven on December 7, 2021 at
the Hospice House in Kennewick, WA. He was diagnosed with Glioblastoma on July
5th, 2021. While bravely fighting this disease, he continued to be both a blessing and
pillar-of-strength for his family. He was such an amazing son, brother, husband, father,
brother-in-law, uncle, nephew, grandpa (papa) and friend. He was often heard, “When I
go, I will be a warrior for God”. We will forever miss his humor, smile and never ending
He was born on September 28th, 1959 to Lonna Hoflund and Thomas Garland in
Laramie, Wyoming. The family moved to Richland in 1962 where he attended Lewis &
Clark, Carmichael and Richland High School. James attended PSU in Portland, Oregon
to learn the art of goldsmithing. He later obtained his certification in Gemology from the
Gemology Institute of America in Carlsbad, California. He was extremely creative and
helped many people design their own wedding rings. He happily made all of his family
and extended family jewelry when asked. His mom and dad, brother, sisters, nephews,
nieces, in-laws and outlaws all have custom wedding sets from him.
James Garland was always ahead of his time and lived bigger than life on his own
terms. Growing up he was a gifted athlete. He excelled in every sport he did and was
a fierce competitor. He was especially good at baseball, gymnastics and later in life
became a 4th degree blackbelt in Shodokan. His physical strength was unmatched for
anyone his size for sure. He was nicknamed “Tonga” in high school for his incredibly
freakish strength. He was known to be able to hold an “Iron Cross” on the rings for over
30 seconds in high school. (The world record today is 39 seconds, set in 2010) He had
a confidence that would scare most people. He wasn’t afraid of anything or anybody
and everyone knew it. When he walked into the room the room changed. He was the
life of the party. He loved flashy clothes, flashy cars, flashy jewelry at an early age. Who
else at 15 had a “Billy Jack” hat? Who else at 16 wore an earring (in the 70’s)? Who
else at 17 bought a red velvet interior, Chrysler Cordoba for their first car? James did
and no one argued with him. It was who he was. It was fitting for him to become a
goldsmith and later create custom pieces of art no one else could. Because of our
mom’s influence, we were all enormous fans of Elvis Presley from early ages. James
had an Elvis voice when he sang and not many people knew that. In April, 2021 James
and his three siblings were able to take their mom on a bucket list trip to see Elvis’
home at Graceland in Memphis. It turned into such a memorable trip for which we are
extremely grateful to have had.
If there was a fault of James, (and there may have been a few depending on who you
ask), they were fixed by marrying his lifelong partner Kris D’Amato. Kris was instantly
accepted to the “band of brothers” and James’ family. They all saw her potential!
Together they ran their shop, Garland’s Goldworx, for 36 years. Their greatest
contribution to this world was the birth of their only child Jamie Nicole Garland on July
16, 1986. They were both doting parents and James finally got a son when Jamie
married Joe Amend in 2010. They were rewarded with 2 grandchildren Akiah, 12 and
Alden, 5. James relished his role of husband, caretaker, guardian, parent and especially
being “Papa”. He loved Akiah and Alden with all of his might. They were his pride and
James is survived by his mother Lonna Fishback, his loving wife and best friend, Kris
D’Amato-Garland, their daughter Jamie Garland-Amend, and his son-in-law,Joe and
grandsons Akiah and Alden. Also his brother Brett Garland and wife Wendy, sister
Kerry Ripplinger and husband Mike, sister and “personal nurse” Traci Swett and
husband Scott. He also leaves behind father-in-law Richard D’Amato and wife Debbie,
his brother-in-law Bill D’Amato and wife Kristi, sister-in-law Lori D’Amato and husband
Todd. He also leaves behind 30 nieces and nephews (most of whom have had to “tap
out” to James at least a good few times). Aunts, uncles and many cousins are also left
behind. It wouldn’t be fitting to not include leaving behind his “band of brother” friends;
Greg Lee, Dave Molnaa, Sandy Chin, Craig Sumner, Brian Denning, Tim Wood and
He is preceded in death by his father Thomas Garland and step mother Louise Neil,
mother-in-law June Schnepp, stepfather Alan Fishback, and grandparents Robert and
Velma Garland and Leo and Pauline Hoflund.
Although his life was sadly cut short, he spent every moment he could being with his
immediate family and their loss is tragic. He was extremely grateful for the outpouring
of friendship and love from his family during his illness and he made you know it when
you visited him. It will take a great deal of time to heal the pain and try to fill the hole
James has left in us. Time is all we have and James’ shortened life should stand as a
great reminder of that everyday. His last words were “It’s all good”, “I’m fine” and “I’ll be
James has left the building.
A celebration of life will be held at Events at Sunset on Saturday, December 18th, 2021 at 1:00pm.
My heart hurt for you.
My deepest condolences to your loved ones and to everyone that James friendship has touched…
Kris, my huge prayers to you and your family for James passing and prayers for his light energy to keep his hand on your heart to give you some comfort and strength when you need it most. You are loved 💞
Another South ender gone, Brett so sorry for your loss. James was a beast.
We are sincerely sad that James has left us. He was a person who made the world a better place by his presence. It was a real privilege to have known him & Kris over these past 20+ years.
I was brokenhearted to hear of the illness & passing of James. He was one of a kind, from his constant positivity to his deep voice & contagious laugh. I have know James since we were in the 6th grade at Lewis & Clark, there was a time that I saw him almost everyday, with the Craighill crowd. As we grew older we drifted in & out of each others lives, but we were always able to pick up right where we left off. I send my deepest condolences to his family, he was so proud of everyone of you. I hope we can all find solace in the memories of his smile, quick wit & genuine kindness.
James, neighbors over the fence, our silly dogs at odds, loved training gymnastics together , including in the park tree and private teaching/coaching with you out in the rolling hills of nowhere. You were terrific. Thank you for all the life tips for various reasons. You are well loved. Comfort and Peace to Kris. See ya on the other side my friend.
My sincere condolences to the Garland Family..He will be missed in this community.
My condolences to the Garland family. James was an inspiration to me. He was so positive and he asked me to try out for gymnastics at Carmichael jr. high. He taught me how to do an “L Cross” on the rings. I would never of tryied out for the sport. He gave me the courage to try out.
James was an awesome man and martial artist. I knew James though the martial arts and trained with him many times…his strength was phenomenal and the few times I got a good hit to the abdomen in it was like punching a brick wall! Several months back I called him and talked for about twenty or so minutes…what an inspiration! His positive outlook was not only infectious, but humbling. I have the greatest respect for James and his legacy as a family man, jeweler, and martial artist is a tribute to the man of character he was. Until we meet again, know that you are sorely missed!
My dearest cuz, I know u r gone but its not goodbye its until we see each other again, fly high sweet angel and I know u r, all in gold, love u and will miss u so very much!
A loss like no other. James was a light to us all. We so value the lasting memories we wear everyday.
They are a constant reminder of time spent with him. Kris – I pray for peace and strength as you go through this journey. Please know just how much you are cared for by so many.
See the passing of James, my mind is flooded with memories of our childhood at Lewis and Clark! South Richlanders!! James was always such a great guy and a great friend. I am truly sad at his passing, but am comforted knowing he now rests in the presence of God.
They were sad days when I heard of James’ prognosis and eventual passing. He was always so positive and fun loving. It was an honor to have trained with him in Shudokan karate. I remember when his arm muscle pulled and dangling but yet continued to train. What strength in character. I will miss him as a friend and fellow martial artist. Blessings to Kris and Jamie and family.
James, James, James…Friends for nearly 40yrs, always fun to talk to, always fun to rant with.
You were so kind to our daughter showing her how to make molds and set stones (she talks about that still 20yrs later).
If there is indeed an other side…I’ll find you. I’ve got a couple items I need made up 🙂
Rest easy friend.
You were a shining light when things were gray; you constantly had that impish grin and endless smile.
I can only assume you are a new guardian angle in Gods Gym. You will be truly missed but never forgotten.
Until we meet again my friend, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
My sincerest condolences on the loss of a very fine human being! I have memories of James from karate. Many times he was my partner, and I was always impressed by his strength and good nature. For the many years I have known him, James always had a good attitude and steadily moved up in rank. He also gave back to the school by being a substitute teacher and mentor to younger participants.
Our prayers are with the family.
James ranks as one of the nicest guys I have ever met. I first met James growing up in the south end of Richland and attending Lewis & Clark. Although he was older than I, it didn’t matter as he treated everyone kindly. It must have run in the family as Brett, Kerry & Traci were the same. Kris, our heart goes out to you, the family and all those James had touched. The world has lost a good man. As with so many others, James made our wedding set and it will be cherished forever even more than it already is.
I recall pushing James in a stroller, with his mother, my sister, down the sidewalks of Laramie in the summer of 1962, the year I graduated from high school during Laramie days celebration and wondering what will become of this little guy and then watching him become the man he did and loving him more each time we could be together when time and distance would afford us the opportunity which wasn’t all that often but when it did wishing it could be more often. Now he is gone and I”am left with these memories and still wishing. Rest EasyNephew
James will be greatly missed. Our love and prayers to Kris and the family.
My extreme condolences to all of you in the family (both physical an Spiritual) of James. I am so sorry for your loss. He and his family and the “Garland gang” were extremely important to me during high school. You might even say they saved my life and I will carry my memories of James and the gang forever in my heart. I am sorry he has left you too soon but he will live on in the memories that you all have in him and I am sure you now have a new guardian Angel watching over you now. Much love and blessings to your family.
James, was a great person! I was blessed to work next door to James and Kris for some years! I always felt safe at night when I had to work late knowing James was next door. He taught me some self defense moves also. He will be missed! My heart goes out to Kris and family! What a beautiful relationship and love he had for his family and his dear Kris! Your In my prayers Kris! Love you. Sherri Odegard
Kris, Jamie, Brett, Kerry, and Traci, I am so sorry for your loss. James was a good friend, a good athlete, and an overall fun guy to be around growing up. I was blessed to have him as a friend that I admired. I hope you find comfort that he is with God now. Rest in peace James.
My sincerest condolences to the family and friends who knew and loved him. Gone way too soon.
What a beautiful tribute to a very special man. His kindness was pure and very real. I was fortunate to know him as a child and remained his friend as we both “got older”. I promise you James that I will be a warrior for you here on earth and will carry my healing crystal with me always. May God’s blessings be with you Kris and your beautiful family.
James I’ve know you most of my life. So many great visits…so many great treasures! RIP Friend! Kris and Jamie my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family…Much love 💙
James was always kind… that is a character that not so many have as naturally as he did.
My heart breaks for all of us who will forever miss such an amazing guy. James was taken way too soon but Perhaps he will be god’s warrior to watch over his loved ones and spread his level of kindness to many…❤️
Kris, my thoughts and prayers are with you all. James was one of the best people I’ve ever known. I am going to miss him. James, you may have left the building, but you haven’t left our hearts. Rest in peace my friend.
You will forever be in our thoughts and hearts. Along with many stories from our high school days. I will miss stopping in the shop and chatting about our adventures and vacations.
Love 💕 goes out to all your family.
To James’ family: My sincerest condolences on the loss of a very fine human being! I have the fondest memories of James and Brett back in the day when we all competed in gymnastics for Rod Ostboe. James was “Tonga” indeed! He was such an inspiration to us fellow teammates. He had such a great smile and attitude. He will surely be missed and fondly remembered. Rest in God’s eternal peace, James.
Wonderful obituary & our family has always enjoyed being around yours. I am so very thankful to own a piece of jewelry carefully crafted by James. Our son DJ wants you to know he misses you & says you were his friend too. Until we see you again James, rest in peace. 😇
An amazing tribute to a wonderful Husband, Father, Brother, and Friend. There was only one James Garland. And sadly, like Elvis, he has left the building….., empty and cold in his absence. But his memory, and the stories will forever live.
brett i am so sorry youve lost your fine brother james.
i still remember his and your gymnastic feats
at carmichael j.h.s. u2 were so amazing. i was inspired 2 try the rings and got injured.
i found out pretty quickly that i was out of my realm.
We will forever hold you in our hearts. Your devotion to your wife, your family, friends and craft have inspired us to appreciate each other and love freely. Your memory will always bring a smile to our faces and lift our spirits. Cheers, James, you will be missed.