James Weston McClain,
Class of 1945

November 19, 1999
by B. J. Harding, President SPUHS Alumni Association
Santa Paula News
Son of Paul S. and Edith M. McClain, “Wes,” as he was known at SPUHS, was the youngest son of three, the others being Paul, Class of 1933, and Grant, Class of 1944. School in Santa Paula began at McKevett; some of his school pals were Marilyn Webster, Muriel Ward, Barbara Harding, Jack Carson, and Bob and John Singer. This group was together from McKevett through Isbell and SPUHS. Many fond memories come to mind when reading about these old friends.Following graduation from SPUHS, where he excelled in the “rings” event on the gymnastics team under the tutelage of Randal Bryden, James attended Ventura Junior College until he transferred to the University of Redlands, graduating with a B.A. in 1950. He then went on to Berkeley for graduate work in United States History.Armed with a general secondary credential, James went to work at Modoc Union High School in Alturas, California. With winter temperatures below zero and snow drifts up to the roof, this Southern Californian decided to seek a warmer climate. The perfect place turned out to be the Grass Valley/Nevada City area of the Mother Lode in California. There James taught U.S. History for the next 35 years.James is a member of the Oregon/California Trails Association (OCTA) and Trails West. Both organizations are devoted to the preservation and appreciation of the Oregon-California Trail. In addition to guiding tours of the trail, he has given extensive artifact collections to the Visitor Center, Big Bend Ranger Station, Tahoe National Forest and Plumas County Museum in Quincy. He has also written extensively on the subject for OCTA and Sierra Heritage Magazine. In 1995, he received the California-Nevada Chapter of OCTA’s highest award for trail preservation.
James married Georgette Floyd, whom he met at VJC, and together they had three sons. This marriage ended in divorce, and he married Betty Colvin of Auburn. They are enjoying their retirement in the Mother Lode of Northern California. Since retirement, James has been teaching in the Elderhostel program for Sierra College.Son #2 has 1,800 hours of flight time, is instrument rated, and has his own airplane. He is active in the “Angel Flight Program.” Flying comes naturally to this family, for James’ best friend is Don Strassburg, Class of 1946, whose wife is a flight instructor.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.