Obituary: Jim Laird
James (Jim) Ralph Laird died peacefully at home in Claremont at the age of 88 on Sunday, June 6.
Everyone who knew Jim knew to take a moment … or a few … out of his or her day to listen to one of his stories or jokes.
Jim’s story started in Jesup, Iowa on April 5, 1933. After his family moved across the country, he spent his childhood in La Verne, graduating from Bonita High School in 1951, and then attending Mt. San Antonio College.
He married his high school sweetheart, Janet (Corky) Corinne Reitz, in November 1952, then went on to serve as a corporal in the United States Marine Corps. In 1955, he officially joined his father’s construction business, Laird Paving Company, which eventually grew into Laird Construction Co., Inc.
He was a second-generation licensed contractor who started as an equipment operator then moved into the role of estimator, vice president, and finally president. He had a strong admiration for and devotion to his employees and tenants, who ultimately became much like family to him.
As an active volunteer over the years, he held many memberships and leadership positions within various trade and community associations, including the Building Industries Association, Engineering General Contractors Association, and the Pomona Jaycees.
“Jim was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend to all,” his family shared. “He was a very warm and caring man with the best sense of humor, most infectious laugh, and a true passion for his work.”
He loved spending time with his family in Cottonwood Cove, Nevada; Swan Lake, Montana; and Avalon, California. His hobbies included shooting trap and skeet, golfing and fishing.
Surprisingly, he somehow always caught “the biggest fish,” or at least that is how the story always went.
He was predeceased by his father, Ralph James Laird, his mother, Sarah Bunnell Laird, his sister, Joan Laird McKendrick, and his brother, Jerald Bert Laird.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Corky; daughter, Karen Schonfeld (Ben); son, Ralph Laird (Joanie); and son, Brian Laird (Dianne). He also leaves grandchildren JR Laird (Vanessa), Brandon Laird (Dayle), Bradley Schonfeld, Jason Laird (Monica), Breanne Laird and Tami Schonfeld; and great-grandchildren Bella Laird, Raegan Laird—aka “squirt,” Brohdy Laird, Marshall Laird and Ghrey Laird.
He was laid to rest at Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your favorite charity.