James C. Halliday 1946 - 2022

Jim Halliday was a brilliant, loving soul who embraced life and shared that joy with everyone he met. As a musician, actor, photographer, philanthropist and successful business executive, Jim devoted his life to creating community and serving those around him.

Born James Craig Halliday in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jim was drawn to music and theater at an early age. He earned Theater Arts degrees in California, then worked as a media designer at De Anza College, where he met and instantly fell in love with his wife, Karen. Their love affair encompassed five decades and included nurturing their three girls and three grandkids, as well as a multitude of relatives and friends. Thanksgiving for 20 was not uncommon, and there was never a stranger at Jim and Karen’s dinner table.

Yet Jim didn’t limit his talents to parenting or theater performance. He applied his profound skills as a communicator to work with those who had difficulty communicating, specifically the blind and deaf. Working with a small team of close friends, Jim co-founded Human Ware, a company specializing in creating and distributing technology for the visually impaired. He served as its first CEO, producing state-of-the-art tools that opened the world to those who could not see it.

His peers recognized his many gifts: Jim was elected president of the International Assistive Technology Industry Association and was later honored with a Humanitarian Award by The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

In 2007, Jim and Karen fell in love all over again, this time with Oregon. They thought they were "retiring" to a small pinot noir vineyard on Ribbon Ridge. But in short order, Jim had co-founded Willamette Shakespeare and became a passionate supporter of both the Oregon Symphony and the Chehalem Cultural Center, where he later served as Acting Director.

Jim’s hard work helped win funds to secure the future of the Cultural Center. His irrepressible sense of fun sent him back to directing and acting (often with Karen’s assistance). Whether appearing as a Shakespearean king, a silly Scotsman, or the neighborhood Santa, he always greeted his audience and his friends with a twinkle in his eye and a huge smile, and they returned his love and laughter five-fold.

Jim is survived by his wife, Karen; daughters, Tanya, Misty (John) and Heather (Scott); grandchildren, James, Emma Lee and JD; brother, David (Jill); nephew, David; niece, Valeri (Neil), with children Chloe and Ryan; extended family, Kean (Mina) and Michi; and the many who will miss him always.

A private family memorial will be held this week, with a Celebration of Life to follow later this year. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in his memory be made to the Oregon Symphony or the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, Oregon.


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