James Justin West, affectionately known as JJ, passed away suddenly on January 23, 2023 at his home in Ripon at the age of 40. JJ was born on May 11, 1982 in Hayward, California to parents, James and Susan West and has been a lifelong resident of Ripon.
Growing up, JJ was always involved in some kind of sport. He spent his toddler years on the baseball field, later basketball, soccer, wrestling and football. JJ also had a passion for music and dancing. He played piano and saxophone and later discovered a deep love for Elton John music. He attended Ripon High School and was one of the first students to join the Ripon High JROTC, having the upmost admiration for his mentor, Sgt. Butch Perry. He graduated from Ripon High School, class of 2001 and proudly considered himself one of Ripon’s, ‘good-ol boys’. JJ was a proud Alumni of New Mexico Military Institute where he gained lifelong brothers and later attended the Citadel.
JJ enlisted in the US Army, proudly protecting our nation serving three combat tours in Iraq. He was known for having fun, too much at times, and he brought that spirit back with him when he returned home. JJ retired from the Army as a Second Lieutenant in 2019.
After returning home, JJ continued to serve his community in a variety of roles including the Planning Commission. His newest mission included finding his faith and walking a humble path towards a happy life. In 2016 he married the love of his life, Dianna Diaz and he found peace and happiness in almond farming and a simple life. His greatest joy in life was his boy, Declan, who filled his days with light and joy. JJ will be remembered for his gracious spirit, unending loyalty and his kind and giving heart. He loved everyone so deeply, especially his dogs and his family. Our community will miss his spirit greatly.
JJ leaves behind his wife of 6 years, Dianna West, his son, Declan West, his parents, Jim West and Susan West, his siblings, Salli-Anne Newhard (Keith), Sean West, Jennifer Rene Lobis (Steven), Terri Leigh West, Nieces and Nephews; Samuel & Bryce West, Drew & Keith Lobis, Nicolle Garcia (Kristin), Lincoln Keller-Garcia, Kristen Newhard, Riot Amadeus Dupree Doubledee, and Myranda Newhard. JJ also leave behind his beloved Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ed Ebaugh and Uncle Bob and Aunt Sally West.
Deegan Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the West family. A visitation is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2 from 4 to 6 PM at Deegan Ripon Memorial Chapel with a vigil service beginning at 6 PM. Mass is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 3 at 10 AM at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Riverbank followed by committal and military honors at Ripon Cemetery. Donations in James “JJ” West’s honor may be made to Semper Fi & America’s Fund at www.thefund.org/donate.