Jim Crelan

Obituary of Jim Crelan


Family and friends are mourning the loss of a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle.  Jim Crelan passed away peacefully at his home following a debilitating stroke that he suffered on March 7.


Born James Francis Crelan in Bristol, Connecticut on June 27, 1945,  Jim was the oldest of 3 sons of the late Joseph Crelan and Alice (Woodward) Crelan.  Jim's  brother, Joe Crelan preceded him in death in 2009. Jim's youngest brother, Mike resides in Capitola.  The family lived in Chicopee, Massachusetts when the brothers were growing up.  Jim came West to San Francisco, CA as a young man where he worked for the Southern Pacific and forest product companies in Mendocino County. 


Jim and his loving wife of 44 years, Roberta Valdez, made their home in Ukiah, Mendocino County, where Jim co-owned Sanhedrin Realty in Potter Valley, a successful real estate brokerage firm.  He leaves many colleagues, clients and dear friends whose friendships he cherished throughout the many years.  Jim and Roberta's children, Emiliano Aragon and Maya Crelan Ray were raised in Ukiah.  After Emiliano and Maya left Ukiah for college (UCSC), Roberta and Jim moved to Santa Cruz in 2000.  By this time, Jim was retired from real estate and spent many hours gardening, watching television political news shows and reading liberal political news articles.  For a number of years, Jim was a member of the Santa Cruz Peace Chorale, where he could sing his values of peace,diversity and political views. In 2010, Jim and Roberta bought a home in Corralitos (Santa Cruz County) where Jim continued to focus on his passions of gardening, politics and gathering with family and friends.


Roberta loves to travel and often cajoled Jim into a road trip.  They visited friends and family in such places as British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts and Minnesota.  The couple often traveled to Pescadero, Baja California Sur where they co-own a "casita" with daughter Maya and her husband Christopher.


The apples of Jim's eye were his grandchildren.  Axel, age 7, son of Emiliano and Laura Aragon. Harlow, age 8,and Reese, age 4, are the daughters of Maya and Christopher Ray. Both families live in Santa Cruz.  Nothing delighted Jim more than being around the 3 children.  They miss their grandpa.  Jim also leaves behind two nieces, Kelly Stead and Kate Crelan and nephew, Cory Crelan. Jim is missed by many other loving extended family members.


Jim was supported by Bridge Hospice Salinas and Hospice of Santa Cruz County. Donations to one of these amazing organizations or a progressive political cause of your choice in Jim's name may be made in his memory. 


A private committal has taken place.  Please visit the Benito Azzaro homepage to leave your prayers and reflections with his family.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jim Crelan, please visit Tribute Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Jim
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel