James William Spaans

James William Spaans was born on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1942 to Anna (Start) and William Spaans. He passed away surrounded by his loving family on Friday, July 29, 2022 after complications from a heart attack.

Jim was born in Muskegon, Michigan, the second of six children. The family moved to Modesto when he was six and to Galt his sophomore year of high school. Early in life, he developed a strong work ethic with a paper route, mowing lawns, and many hours spent working in the family bakery.

He graduated from Galt High School in 1960 with numerous leadership and athletic achievements. He played football for Monterey Peninsula College and later graduated from Humboldt State College with a Bachelor's Degree in Forest Management. After graduation, he worked for the State of Washington in the Department of Forestry managing timber. Jim also served in the National Guard as a helicopter mechanic which began his love of flying.

In 1963, Jim married his high school sweetheart Sharon Fernandez and their 59 year marriage was filled with a loving family and many friends. Jim and Sharon were supportive and dedicated parents to their three children and traveled the world following their sports and theater activities. Later in life, Jim had the opportunity to spend quality time with his two granddaughters who gave him great joy and unconditional love.

Jim and his young family returned to Galt in 1969 and he joined the family business-Spaans Cookie Company. Later as President and Owner of Spaans Cookie Company, he expanded the business and changed the landscape of C Street with additional buildings. He was known as “the cookie man” sharing the sweets of his labor with others. All of his children and his son-in-law joined him in the business at various times assuring the Spaans Cookie Company legacy for many years to come.

He also had a deep commitment to the broader Galt community. He was a charter member of the Galt Rotary Club, member of the Galt High School Board, and President of the Galt High School Booster Club. He coached youth sports and participated on many city league teams. He loved to bowl and in his later years became an avid golfer and a member of the senior golf league at Castle Oaks Golf Club. His real passion was flying. He owned and learned to fly in a Piper Cub and later owned and flew a Navion and made several cross-country trips to the EAA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Jim's forestry experience also instilled a lifelong love of nature, landscaping, and trees.

Jim was preceded in death by his son Darren Spaans, his younger brother Steve Spaans, his parents Anna and William Spaans and his loving parent-in-laws Goldie and Al Fernandez.

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife Sharon and their family-

Daughter Melissa (Loren) Thompson

Son Rick (Eric) Spaans

Granddaughters Tara Spaans and Brittney Thompson

Jim is also survived by his four sisters: Sharlene Weiss, Sue (Jim) Brandl, Linda Spaans Esten, Sharon (Harold) House; as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.

Jim was a devoted husband, an amazing dad, a loving grandfather, and a kind friend to all who knew him.

We will all miss his kindness, generosity, and his love for life.

A “Celebration of Life” for Jim is planned for Sunday, September 18th at 10:00am at Spaans Cookie Company, 456 C Street, Galt, CA 95632.

Donations can be made to PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society), Tunnel to Towers, St. Jude Children's Hospital or a charity of your choice.

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