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James Gaylord Chadney

September 24, 1940 May 13, 2019
James Gaylord Chadney
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Obituary for James Gaylord Chadney

James G. Chadney, Jr. was born in Hood River, Oregon September 24, 1940 to James and Irene (Lakin) Chadney.  The family later moved to Tillamook where he began elementary school at South Prairie School.  In 1954 the family moved to Portland where he graduated from Parkrose High School with the class of 1958.

“Jim” as his family and friends called him, enlisted in the Army in 1960.  He was last deployed to Honolulu, Hawaii where he spent his remaining military service working in the Dental Center at Tripler Army Medical Center. After his honorable discharge he returned to Portland, graduating with a BS in Anthropology and Philosophy from Portland State University.

In 1965 Jim began a Graduate Program in the School of Anthropology at Michigan State University.  He received both his MA and his PhD in Anthropology from MSU.

In June 1968 Jim and his wife, Roberta “Bobbi” (Wright) Chadney, who he had married in March 1965 in Portland, left Michigan to begin life in Cedar Falls Iowa where Jim would begin a 31-year career as a Professor of Anthropology and in 1995 also the position of Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Northern Iowa. 

Dr. Chadney’s PhD dissertation, The Vancouver Sikhs: an Ethnic Community, was completed in 1976.  In 1984 his dissertation was published for wide distribution but with a small title change: The Sikhs of Vancouver. It has been read and quoted by many scholars. His many articles have appeared in scholarly journals over the years.  He retired from UNI as Interim Dean in 1999.

Also in 1999, Dr. Chadney was chosen to become Dean of Liberal Arts at Western Oregon University.  This would mean “coming home to Oregon”. He had cherished his tenure at UNI and for the next 6 years he would cherish WOU also.  He retired from WOU in 2005.

After retiring, Jim enjoyed golfing with his buddies at Creekside Golf Course. He also loved traveling with his wife. They had previously been to India, Australia, and most of the US States, including Hawaii and Alaska, but Mexico, Canada, Europe, Most of the United Kingdom and Australia (again), New Zealand and traveling the Danube from Budapest to Amsterdam for their 50th Anniversary to name a few were special.

During Jim’s last year they were able to enjoy the beauty of the Oregon Coast and the days spent there were so wonderful.

A Family Living Memorial was held 2 weeks before his death.  All of his immediate family was able to attend.  He was able to talk to everyone and even remind us of that wonderful smile. Jim lost his 13-month battle with gastric cancer on May 13, 2019 at his home in Salem.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Irene; his father James Sr. and his sister, Marilyn (Chadney) Nicholsen.

Jim is survived by his wife, Bobbi, of Salem OR.  His sons and their wives:  James “Jay” and Terri of Portland OR.  Garett and Claire, of Gresham OR.  Grandchildren: Brandon, Connor, Macy, MiMi, and Mia Chadney of Portland OR.  Alexander Chadney of Bend OR.  Ashley Keyte and Victoria Keyte of Salem OR.Jim will be inured at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

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Cemetery Details


Willamette National Cemetery Final Resting Place

11800 Mt Scott Blvd.
Portland, OR 97086

11800 Mt Scott Blvd. Portland 97086 OR
United States

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