James “Jim” George Sauber
July 26, 1936 to September 17, 2020
Jim Sauber passed away on Thursday September 17 th while working at the vineyard he loved. A funeral mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Placerville on Tuesday, September 29 th at 11:00 AM. A remembrance celebration will be scheduled for next summer.
Jim was a man who loved his family, farming, good conversation, and a beautiful sunset with a cold beer in hand.
He was born and raised in a small farming community in North Dakota, attending a one room schoolhouse before transitioning to high school in town, where he boarded with family during winter months. From there, he continued on to North Dakota State University as an ROTC candidate and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. His subsequent military service in the Army Corp of Engineers brought him to Colorado, giving him his first view of the west. Excited to pursue new opportunities, he moved to California to build bridges for the new state highway system as part of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). His forty year career with Caltrans spanned from inspecting construction sites all over California to becoming the head of a design section in Sacramento. Many bridges across the state bare his eye for grace and strength.
It was while working in the Santa Barbara area that he met his wife, Donna Lee. They were married at Saint Cecilia’s in Tustin on June 6 th , 1964, and have since been inseparable. They had three daughters; Jayme, Stacey and Kimberlee. Duck hunting in North Dakota, skiing, and horseback riding were some of the things he did for fun. With his family ‘helping’, Jim designed and built his own home. As a member of the Placerville community, he participated heavily in 4-H as a leader of Sheep and other projects.
In his free time, Jim planted a vineyard and orchards; the other love of his life. Over 37 years, he expanded his vineyard to 40 acres of various varieties, carefully tending his vines, focusing always on quality. During the winter months when the vines were dormant, Jim loved traveling the world with his wife.
He was also very active in his community including the Grape Growers Association (serving as President), El Dorado Home Winemakers Club, Farm Bureau and with his church, Saint Patrick’s, as a member of the Knights of Columbus.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Donna Lee (Callahan), his three daughters, their husbands, and 4 grandchildren.
We will miss him very much.
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