The Coastal Post - October, 1997

Jimmy Bourne 1911-1097

By Joan Reutinger

When Jimmy Bourne died in August, 1997, it was the end of a long journey and a long life, for he was 86. Jimmy was born in Merced County, but he spent most of his youth in the Bourne house next to Bolinas School. The house was built before the 1906 earthquake, so it is fitting that a replica of the house should now sit beside the school. It is used as the administration building.

Bourne's is an old family. Jimmy's father, Arthur, was the chief engineer of the "Owl" schooner that ran between San Francisco to Bolinas in the early days. His grandfather sold his lagoon property, which had been the old Morgan Ranch, to Audubon Canyon Ranch. Isaac Morgan is reputably the one who built the old Smiley's Schooner Saloon in Bolinas in 1851.

Jimmy Bourne wanted to become a cartoonist, having been to the Academy of Arts in San Francisco, but he ended up becoming a respected radio towerman. He was in charge of all the RCA towers on the Mesa in Bolinas, which is now the property of Commonweal. He retired after 34 years.

He left behind his brothers, Lewis, of Bremerton, Washington, and Thomas, of Paso Robles; his sister, Eleanor Nagel, of Sacramento; his daughter, Beverly Joan Bourne, of Silver Springs, Nevada; grandson, Gregory Stoudy, of Bolinas; grand-daughter, Dana Ralaire, of Renton, Washington; and two great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

With the passing of Jimmy Bourne, there are now no Bournes in Bolinas, where it was prolific a much-respected name. You all know the Audubon Canyon Ranch, and many of you know the names of "Jenny Griffin" and the "Owl," two schooners that used to ply the waters between Bolinas and San Francisco.

Granny Bourne was interviewed in 1973 and said, "I think the kids now are very much more advanced in their schoolwork. They have more variety in subjects. When I went to high school, our last problem in geometry was to find the radius of a circle, which now the children do here in grammar school. I took four years of Latin and three years of Greek, and history, English and math, but the children in this grammar school are doing some of the problems that we were doing in high school."

At the time, Mrs. Bourne was 85 years old, but to Sally Middleton, "It seemed she was only 30." Granny Bourne, mother of Jimmy, was long-lived, as most of the Bourne family were.

-Taken from Group Memories by Steve Aikenhead and more than 100 contributors.

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