Jim Luini – The Passing of a True Gentle Man

(Contributed Photo)
Jim Luini passed away Aug. 3 as gently and quietly as he lived.

    On Aug. 3, Jim Luini, a gentle, kind soul, passed away at the age of 85 from a non-COVID-19 related illness.
    He and his wife Linda moved to Orinda in 1972. Linda recalls meeting Jim when he was working on his Master’s Degree in electrical engineering at UC Berkeley. “I guess I interrupted his master’s thesis since he received his BSEE in 1957 but didn’t complete his MSEE until 1964!”
    Linda and Jim raised their two sons, Jeff and Jon, in Orinda while Jim worked as a supervising control system engineer in the Dynamic Analysis Section of PG&E. During his tenure with PG&E, Jim pioneered the advancement and implementation of digital computer methods to large ac/dc power system stability. He also co-authored 13 papers and served as an industry advisor on numerous research projects.
    Retiring from PG&E in the late 1990s, Jim immediately involved himself with his local community. A member of The Orinda Association Board since 1998, Jim served as treasurer for many years and as co-president with Kate Wiley in 2007 and 2008. In March 2018, The OA recognized him for his many years of volunteer service to the Orinda community at a gala dinner at the Orinda Country Club.
    Among Jim’s many passions was the San Pablo Creek that runs through Orinda. A long-time member of Friends of Orinda Creeks and a past president, he not only educated people about the creek, he spent countless hours cleaning out debris and bringing teams of students and scouts to help remove invasive plants like English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberry and to replant with native species.
    Retirement also allowed Jim to indulge his intellectual curiosity by going back to school and auditing classes at UCB, especially those in the political sciences. He also loved opera, the symphony, traveling the world, skiing, hiking the mountains around their Serene Lakes cabin and, of course, attending Cal football games.
    Jim contributed unwavering support to the people and projects he loved. I feel lucky to have benefited from that support with Jim sharing his years of experience and knowledge as I transitioned from assistant editor to editor of The Orinda News. It was always such a pleasure to have him drop by the office with a smile on his face and an ability to make me laugh regardless of the pressures I might be under. We will all miss him so much.
    But as his wife Linda so aptly said, “I am comforted knowing Jim has moved on, leaving his walker behind!”
    Jim is survived by his wife Linda, sons Jeff and Jon, nieces Kimberly and Heather, four grandchildren and two grandnieces. Memorial donations may be sent to Lamorinda Adult Respite Center (lamorindarespite.org, 433 Moraga Way, Orinda, CA. 94563), Friends of Orinda Creeks (orindacreeks.org, P.O.Box 883, Orinda, CA 94563), and The Orinda Association (orindaassociation.org).

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