James Michael Redmond

James Michael Redmond

November 10, 1942 - March 24, 2019
Dana Point CA

James Michael Redmond

November 10, 1942 - March 24, 2019
Dana Point CA


James Michael Redmond, age 76, a retired attorney and former Iowa State Senator, passed away peacefully at his home in Dana Point, California on Sunday, March 24th, after a battle with renal cell carcinoma.  He was surrounded by his loving family.  He is survived by his devoted wife Janice (Walker) Redmond of Dana Point, his three beautiful daughters Elizabeth (Christian) Gebauer of Los Angeles, Jamie Redmond and Janna Redmond of Dana Point, grandson Isaac Gebauer, sister Mary (Redmond) Agnew of Durango, Colorado, mother-in-law JoAnn (Favaro) Walker of Des Moines, Iowa, as well as an aunt and many nieces, nephews and cousins. 

Jim was born on November 10, 1942 in Burlington, Iowa to Margrethe (LeMont) Hitchens and Edward Redmond.  He grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he graduated from Washington High School in 1960.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1965 and spent the next 3 1/2 years on active naval duty serving as First Lieutenant and Gunnery officer on the USS Grant County (LST 1174).  Upon completion of his military service, he entered law school at the University of Iowa.  He earned his JD and passed the Iowa Bar in 1971, and then clerked for the Iowa Supreme Court in 1971-72.  He served the city of Cedar Rapids first as an assistant city attorney (1972-75) and then as an Iowa State Senator (1975-77).  His professional accomplishment of which he was perhaps the proudest was his role in establishing the Iowa Court of Appeals.  During his 48-year career, Jim practiced law in Iowa, Florida and California. 

He continued to pursue cases on behalf of his clients until his illness forced him to retire in 2018 after practicing for 19 years in California.  Although he had a career of many accomplishments, his greatest pride was reserved for “his girls.”  During the late stages of his disease, he would insist on continuing to fight the cancer with every means possible, telling physicians that he was “fighting for the girls, the best time of my life!”

Around the SoCal dance world, he was designated the “Best Dance Dad Ever.” He knew every dancer at the studio where his twin daughters Jamie and Janna dance, as well as their families.  It was not out of the ordinary for him to secretly donate money for costumes or snacks to the kids who needed them, or to give pep talks to dancers off stage.  He could even be seen as an extra on stage with his girls.  School functions were no different: he was the volunteer dad at St. Edward’s Parish School.  A common sight was Mr. Redmond in a suit and tie precariously perched on a tiny chair in the classroom. 

Jim was known for his integrity, intense curiosity and wit.  He was passionate about history, science, classical music, crossword puzzles and Harry Potter.  This man of character will be missed for his knowledge, his curiosity, his mind, his generosity and his kindness. 

Jim was preceded in death by his mother Margrethe (Le Mont) Hitchens, his father Edward Redmond, his stepfather Raymond Hitchens, his brother John Redmond and his father-in-law Steve Walker. 

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at St. Edward the Confessor Parish in Dana Point.  Burial service with military honors will be held on April 22, 2019 at the Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a gift to “UCI Foundation” in James Redmond’s name for the Hematology Oncology Fund (#3621) to advance renal cell carcinoma research led by medical oncologist, Dr. Nataliya Mar. Checks may be sent to UCI Foundation, Attn: Erika Bernal, 333 City Blvd W., Suite 605, Orange, CA 92868. Or call (714) 509-2112 to give by phone.


Memorial Mass

  • Date & Time: April 9, 2019 (11:00 AM)
  • Venue: St. Edward The Confessor Catholic Church
  • Location: 33926 Calle La Primavera Dana Point, CA 92629 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (949) 496-1307

Graveside Service

  • Date & Time: April 22, 2019 (12:30 PM)
  • Venue: Miramar National Cemetery
  • Location: 5795 Nobel Drive San Diego, CA 92122 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (858) 658-7360

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18 responses to James Michael Redmond

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  1. We were so saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. Some people are so special they become part of you and in that way they live on forever.
    Let yourselves cry knowing that each tear is a note rising to the heavens.
    Wishing you Janice, Jamie, Jana and all your extended family peace to bring you comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this most sad and difficult time.
    Favaro Family Australia

  2. Joe Bull says:

    One of the most generous and noble gentleman I have known. Dedicated father and husband. I was honored to know Jim and will greatly miss him. But I know he truly lives on in his family. Rest easy Jim.

  3. Jim – I remember your caring spirit and passion for fairness. Rest easy knowing that you were loved.

  4. Jim – I remember passionately believing in justice. Rest easy knowing that you were loved.

  5. Steve Sovern says:

    Please know, Janice, Jamie, Janna, Betsy and her family and sister Mary, of Bonnie’s and my heartfelt sympathy in your loss. Jim leaves a treasured space in so many lives but the void in yours must be immense. Know that we grieve with you.
    Having considered Jim a best friend since meeting him in, I believe, 8th grade, I hope you don’t mind me sharing a few recollections. Above all, I think of Jim as a fearless friend whether around the schools we attended together, in sports venues we played in together or in the halls of the Iowa Senate where we legislated together.
    And when I say fearless friend, I believe this may disclose why he got the nickname, “Red Dog,” early on in his life. All who bullied, hassled or attacked (as Jim would see it) a friend of Jim’s would have to answer to him. For instance, there was a memorable high school basketball game during which the other team was giving Jim’s Washington High teammates a very physically tough time. Jim, who didn’t often start but who always played and played with incredible intensity, was chomping at the bit from the bench until mid-second quarter. When Coach called on him, Jim ripped off his sweats and leapt into the fray. When the dust settled, Jim had set a Washington High School record by fouling out of the game in the shortest time ever and even before the end of that quarter.
    Jim and I were elected to the Iowa Senate at the same time in 1974. Jim became known early-on as one to not suffer fools (a challenge for a legislator!) and to be always ready to take them on for the sake of his cause. And, that cause was invariably in support of the less powerful.
    Moreover, if Jim ever sensed I was being treated rudely or unfairly by the Republicans during floor debate, Katy bar the door a friend was in need. ‘The Senator from Linn, Senator Redmond” would raise his mic in a flurry and call for recognition by the Senate President. Those present came to understand that what was to follow was something worth watching and the chamber would quiet in anticipation.
    Jim was fearless in taking on the powerful. One morning in particular comes to mind. The two of us having stayed a little late at a Des Moines watering hole the night before were lounging a bit and having some snacks in a darkened snooze room just off the Senate floor that was primarily reserved for the high number of “senior” senators. We, at age 32, got a kick out of pretending.
    There was a sound system in the room that broadcast the floor debate. It became clear that a bill that Jim desperately wanted out of committee was being sequestered by leadership. Jim started fuming and fidgeting. I asked what he was doing to which he responded, “I’m gonna eat this banana and then I’m going out there and pull that bill from committee!” I suppose I said something like, “Oh, no you’re not.”
    The next thing I heard over the PA was the voice of the Senate President saying, “The chair recognizes the Senator from Linn, Senator Redmond. And, so, It was off to the races. For a freshman to challenge the leadership was unheard of, maybe, until Jim.
    Jim was the same for his clients throughout his distinguished law career. They became his friends who he was called upon to protect. As always, he was fierce in his advocacy and in his preparation to become that kind of advocate. If there were an ethical/legal way for them, Jim would find it. He had a great mind for the law or for any other pursuit. I have met few in my life that could match Jim’s level of intellect. His mastery of fact and law allowed him to develop a winning argument. His phenomenal memory remained evident throughout life. Would you believe even my school locker numbers, combinations and home phone numbers and those of other friends could be pulled easily from his unbelievable mental hard drive.
    What Jim meant to me is probably illustrated by the fact that he was best man at Bonnie’s and my wedding and became godfather to our dear daughter, Kerith. As bright as Jim was, his most endearing quality may have been his wonderfully quirky nature. We have never forgotten the night of our wedding rehearsal dinner as we awaited with growing angst the arrival at the restaurant of our tardy best man. Jim was racing from his naval base in Norfolk VA and came tearing breathless into the party in his navy dress whites. All were in their seats and waiting not so patiently with full champagne glasses for the best man’s toast, as tradition had it, in order to begin the festivities.
    Bonne and I enthusiastically stood and greeted Jim by the head table and escorted him to his assigned seat between our mothers. Jim, of course, began immediately engaged in chatter with Bonnie’s mom while whetting his road weary whistle with the beverage in front of him. All the while, the guests awaited the event initiating toast. My mother leaning over, tapped Jim on the shoulder and whispered of the toast protocol. Jim sprang to his feet in but in mid-rise saw he was holding a now empty champagne glass. Bonnie’s mom spotting the crisis slid her full glass in front of him, Jim rose to the occasion, delivered a touching toast and the event was off to a rousing, wonderful and quirky start.
    The only good news in these sad moments is that, because of this unique man, we all have more wonderful memories than we could possibly deserve. Jim enriched our lives and enriched life. His energy perseveres through his visible absence. God has blessed us all.

    1. How touching Steve. I loved reading this tribute to Jim. One of my fondest memories was of visiting the Iowa Senate Chamber with Jim when our twin girls were around 4yrs old, or maybe 5yrs old. He placed them in his previous Senate seat and handed him the mic. He explained his job, what he did and how he would be recognized to speak. A nice woman came in and asked who he was and what he was doing. He informed her and she said Senator you may stay as long as you like. She told us to come see her when we were finished. She took the girls on a tour of the library and gave them postcards. Their dad was so proud! He wanted his girls to see where he sat and where did what his work as a Senator. He accomplished that goal!

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