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Mr. James Crippen, 1936-2018. Final obituary at bottom of page.
Mr. Crippen taught United States history at Sunny Hills High School for many years.


Representatives of the Fullerton First United Methodist Church have announced: 

"It is with a heavy heart that we share with you the passing of Jim Crippen.

"Jim passed away yesterday afternoon, January 29, 2018. 
Please keep Linda and the family in your thoughts and prayers.

"Memorial service details to follow."


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Ken Slezak, ‘66 on July 18, 2018 at 11:05 AM said:

Great teacher, great sense of humor. Peace and comfort for his family. He made a real impact on Sunny Hills Lancers. What a blessing.
Marlin Snyder 1967 on June 9, 2018 at 11:09 PM said:

Remember Mr. Crippen well. He enjoyed teaching and being in front of the class with a sense of humor as he taught history.
Don Paul on April 22, 2018 at 10:38 AM said:

I had Mr. Crippen for California History my senior year (69) along with my two best friends Greg Condict and Mike Dalton. We liked to hike out in Joshua Tree and Death Valley which lead Mr. Crippen to plan a hike up Mt Lowe as a class project. I got to know Mr. Crippen well and house sat for him the summer after graduation. He had lots of interests including old classic cars. He was one of those people you never forget. I was fortunate to know him. My best to his family.
Bob Maxson '63 on February 11, 2018 at 9:22 PM said:

RIP Jim. My favorite teacher and co-conspirator at SHHS. Great sense of humor while actually keeping your attention and interest.
Patti Powers '65 on February 5, 2018 at 10:03 AM said:

I am so sad to hear of Mr. Crippen's passing. He made me laugh so much in U.S. History my Junior year at SHHS. He used to tap his wooden stick against the chalkboard when I would laugh at Wayne Redfearn's antics. Mr. Crippen was a good sport and we so enjoyed his class over 54 years ago. My condolences to his family.
Paul Saevig, ‘67 on February 1, 2018 at 10:41 AM said:

I didn’t have Mr. Crippen for classes, but I remember something Stan Thompson, ’69 told me about him. He said that when the final bell to end a class sounded, and all the students started to rush out, Mr. Crippen would sometimes say:

“Wait! Wait for the Benediction!” Ha ha!
Wayne Redfearn, ‘65 on January 31, 2018 at 9:42 PM said:

RIP my friend. I'll never forget being sent to the "Rose Garden" Patti Powers and I were in this class and have shared many a chuckle over Mr. Crippen. He was a trip.


[The rose garden was the area outside Mr. Crippen's classroom, where he threatened to send students who misbehaved. - Paul]

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March 5, 2018


James Crippen passed away on January 29, 2018 in Fullerton, CA. He was born on October 19, 1936 in Santa Monica, California to parents Lawrence and Catherine Crippen. Already having an older sister, Chickie, two brothers O.T. and Tommy followed. The family settled in the Pacific Palisades near the ocean where Jim grew up. The family spent their summers on Lake Mary in a giant tent, which as Jim always pointed out, slept the entire family and guests as well! Two events in his early life had such a profound influence on him that they carried his interest throughout his life. His father worked in the mailroom for the railways, developing Jim’s interest in trains, both model and full-sized. Growing up in the car culture of post-war Southern California, he discovered his lifelong love for classic cars. Never to conform to the popular, instead of Bucket T’s and flaming 57’s, he bought a Franklin!


Everybody who met Jim became aware of his passion for the Franklin automobile. His knowledge reached to every detail of the car down to the engine size and lens manufacturer. Over the years he owned four Franklins. The most memorable story of his acquisition of them centers around one of the road trips he took with his son, this one being through Arizona. We visited two well-know collectors; the first had a former museum Franklin. Of course he couldn’t resist, and added it into his collection. Visiting the second collector he happened to notice, based on some clear detail having to do with the upholstery, that this was in fact the very car he had owned in high school. Unfortunately the collector was unwilling to sell. Of course he kept track of its whereabouts through his active membership in the Franklin Club, and when it appeared in the estate auction, it became his.


As his school years advanced at West LA’s University High and Cal State Los Angeles, he found a passion for U.S. History and Government. This interest extended into family history and genealogy. He soon realized his career calling was to become a Social Science teacher. During this time he served in the Air National Guard. In 1959 he began his 35-years as a teacher at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton. For Jim, history was not just about the past; when he taught, history came alive in his classes.


In 1962 he met Linda in the Methodist Church in Fullerton. They were married on June 30, 1963. Two children, James Jr. and Cheryl were born. Being a teacher and loving history, he never hesitated to share his knowledge with his family. Family vacations always included travelling in their motorhome to visit national monuments and historical sites such as presidential homes and libraries. 


Jim was an active member in the Methodist church; his fellow adult Sunday school participants could always count on his contributions at their meetings. In addition, he served on many church committees over the years, and enjoyed representing the church at their annual conference in Redlands, where he reconnected with other delegates and former ministers. 


After retirement, Jim enjoyed a full and event-filled life, which included a great deal of international travel. He visited James in England and Germany, Cheryl in Kenya and Uganda. He and Linda visited such diverse places as Russia, Australia, South America, The Holy Land, Egypt, and Greece. He especially enjoyed the historically themed trips organized by the Methodist Church. Wherever he went Jim brought his natural inquisitiveness and lifelong passion for learning. 


From the eulogy made by Jim Crippen's son, James Jr.