In Memory Of ... James Robert Deal

June 5, 1947 – April 10, 2024

James Robert Deal died in Everett, Washington, on April 10, 2024, of head and neck cancer complicated by COVID. James was born on June 5, 1947, in Blytheville, Arkansas, and named after his father James Robert. He attended Blytheville High School, graduating in 1965. During high school he developed his love for music and participated in both the band and the choir. Since he came from a religious family, he attended Harding College, a school affiliated with the Church of Christ, in Searcy, Arkansas. There he majored in divinity and graduated with a B.A. in Theology and Business, Summa Cum Laude, in 1969. James developed a love of swimming and lettered on the collegiate swim team at Harding. He attended the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University and received an M.A. in Divinity in 1971. Upon graduation, James attended the Anglican Theological College at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In 1978, he earned his J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle.

During James’ career as a real estate attorney and broker, he specialized in creative financing that allowed struggling owners to stay in their homes. James was committed to fairness and equity and always went the extra mile to serve and protect his clients. James married Emelyn Lim Pateno in 2000 in the Philippines, a country he came to love and chose as his final resting place. Emelyn and James were inseparable. She became James’ devoted partner in love and in business, learning real estate and studying for the Washington State Bar exam with his help. He was very generous to Emelyn’s family and extended family, especially in times of need. In the last three years of his life, James also mentored his associate attorney, Matthew Parker.


James played the piano, guitar, flute, harmonica, and drums, and he enjoyed composing and jamming with friends. A committed activist and environmentalist, James described himself as a green politician. He felt so strongly about issues that he ran for Washington State lieutenant governor in 2012, governor in 2016, and US Senate in 2018, not to win but to have a platform to spread what he felt were important ideas. His mother Elizabeth had told him, “Son, you have to toot your own horn; you can’t count on anyone to toot it for you.” His many interests included making public transportation greener and more efficient, safe drinking water, and the dangers of smart metering, 5G cell towers, and toxic chemicals in the environment. James was a strict vegan for most of his life. One of his passions was organic gardening. His book “What to Serve the Goddess when She Comes for Dinner: A Theology of Food” outlines the history of veganism, promotes its personal and ecological benefits, and offers healthful recipes.

James is survived by his wife Emelyn Pateno Deal, his brother Chad, his niece Alexis, and her son Logan. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on May 3, 2024, at 11 a.m. at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 22209 58th Ave. W, Mountlake Terrace, Washington, with a lunch reception to follow

Memorial Services

A memorial service will take place on Friday, May 3, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. The details appear in James’ obituary above. If you would like to attend, you are most welcome.

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