James Douglas Stillwell passed away Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at home in northeast Portland, OR. Jim lived with brain cancer for sixteen months, teaching those who loved him lesson after lesson in courage and fortitude. In the final year of his life, as in all the years before, he loved visiting with friends and family from near and far, sharing stories and wonderment.
Jim was born on September 16, 1973, in Robinson, Illinois, to Kathryn and Ronald Stillwell. When he was in middle school, the family moved to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where he graduated from high school. Together with a group of lifelong friends, Jim discovered a deep love for nature, hiking and camping. After a year at the University of Tennessee, he headed west, attending Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. He then returned to his early love of art and design, gaining entrance to and graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Aside from nature, Jim was devoted to art. He was a painter and a metal sculptor. He loved building and experimenting in his studio near the Willamette River. Largely self-taught, he built cabinetry and solid wood furniture using mortise and tenon joinery. His work was a joy to behold.
For those who wish, memorials may be made in his name in support of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts (GSFTA). Jim was an alumnus of this program, a four-week summer residency for high school students gifted in the arts. To find out more, visit http://gsfta.com/foundation/