James Thomas Klingaman

May 21, 1929 ~ June 17, 2019 (age 90)


James Thomas Klingaman passed away peacefully on Monday, June 17, 2019 in Lake Forest, CA, at the age of 90.  Jim was born in Deland, Florida on May 21, 1929, and was the middle child of Josie & Kenneth Klingaman of Chadron, Nebraska.  Jim had an older sister, Violet and a younger brother, Joey, though both passed away early in their lives.

Jim’s family moved to Santa Ana, CA when Jim as 2 years old.  Jim lived in North Santa Ana and attended St. Joseph Catholic School and Santa Ana High School, graduating in 1947.  He then went on to Orange Coast College to attend the building trades program to learn and hone his skills as a custom cabinet maker.  He had spent time with his grandfather in the family garage learning how to make furniture and other items from wood.

Jim met his wife Phyllis just after his graduation, also a Santa Ana High School student.  They were married on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 1950. 

Shortly after their marriage Jim went overseas and served with the US Army 7th Division.  He was transferred to Korea and was involved in combat.  Jim was discharged in 1952 and served as an Army Reservist until September of 1956.

Upon his return, Phyllis & Jim bought their first home on Rosalind Dr. in Orange, started a family and began to develop plans to open a custom cabinet manufacturing business.  Jim and Phyllis had three sons, Kris, Marc and Gregg, in addition to one daughter, Jill.  Jim eventually opened his business in Santa Ana in 1958.  Jim was soon building cabinets for exclusive custom homes in the Newport and Laguna Beach areas.  Jim’s business remained small, but still produced the highest quality of cabinetry with attention to detail.  His family business was extremely successful, and he became well known for his meticulous quality with many successful builders and contractors in the area.  Jim finally retired in 2014 after 56 years in business.

Jim was an avid golfer and hosted many golf tournaments for his long-time friends in Palm Springs.  He and his wife, Phyllis, also loved playing golf in Hawaii with their golfing friends. 

Jim and Phyllis loved to travel from rving and boating with family and friends in their early days to visiting other destinations to include the Caribbean, China, Greece & St. Andrews golf course in Scotland.

Jim’s kindness and sense of humor will be missed by all his children and grandchildren.  It has been said that he and Phyllis are now together in heaven waiting to tee off.   He is survived by his children, Kris, Marc and Jill; daughter in law, Diane, son in law, Steve and grandchildren, Kristin and husband Mike, Shannon, Taylor and Josef.  Jim was the great-grandfather to Kristin’s daughter, Madeline Rae.




Celebration of Life


August 25, 2019

10:00 am

Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club

26772 Avery Parkway

Mission Viejo, CA 92692

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Celebration of Life
August 25, 2019

10:00 AM
Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club (Avery Parkway Mission Viejo)

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