James Doniphan Daeschner, of Ventura, passed away on, Tuesday, November 20.
Jim was a direct descendent of Don Alphonse Iphan, a Castilian cavalier, who was knighted by the King of Spain for his bravery on the battlefield. The name was later anglicized into "Doniphan" when the family moved to England. The Don's son sailed to the "new world" in 1607 with Captain John Smith of Pocahontas fame to establish the Jamestown Colony which was the beginning of America. A later Doniphan rode with Daniel Boone and established the first school in Kentucky. This Doniphan's son was Col. Alexander Doniphan who was a war hero, a congressman and a renowned defense trial lawyer. As a lawyer he saved the life of Joseph Smith who would establish the Mormon Church. Standing 6'4" at a time when the average man was about 5'3" he was an imposing lawyer in the courtroom. He was also a friend of Abraham Lincoln who called him the finest example of a man he had ever met. Jim was also a direct descendant of Sir George Dawson who was knighted by the Queen of England for his early work as an explorer and geologist in Canada and Alaska. "Dawson City" in the Klondike area of Canada was named after this ancestor.
A long time resident of Ventura County and Colorado, Jim won the Oxnard city tennis championship in 1957 and made news in 1958 when he moved to Mexico and became a bullfighter. He fought under the name, "Jaimillo del Norte." In 1963 the Ventura County Symphony Orchestra, in its premiere concert, performed his "Prelude No. 42 For Symphony Orchestra." He began writing music at the age of seven and wrote music for Hollywood and Las Vegas in the 1960's. He wrote poetry extensively and also had articles published by "Surfer," "Surfing," "Ski," "Runner's World" and "Sports Illustrated" magazines. Jim was an avid surfer, skier and distance racer and also spent many years coaching youth football, baseball, and soccer. He returned to golf in the later years and played almost daily despite Winston Churchill's warning that, "Golf is a good way to spoil a nice walk." There were days, when after playing, he said he was inclined to agree with Churchill.
After graduating from UCLA Law School, Jim practiced law in Ventura County and Colorado until his retirement in 1998. After retirement he returned to composing and at the time of his death he was writing songs for Celine Dion, Josh Groban, and for shows in Palm Springs. He had just completed a 104 page three movement suite for symphony orchestra which he called his best work.
While a 22 year old bullfighter in Mexico he wrote the following poem which he felt summarized his view of life perhaps better than any other writings:
We are on a bridge of life, you and I;
And yet we have no answer to the question, Why?
We stand on this bridge which connects two great seas;
And it sways between time, in morn's first breeze.
One sea the future, and one sea the past;
So love life now, for this bridge cannot last.
In a silent wave, the bridge shall go;
So love life now, and let life know,
Love life's joys and love life's tears;
For this bridge is made of only years.
But be not sorrowful, of this plight;
For a lifetime may be – but a single night.
Jim is survived by his son Charles Daeschner and his wife Jennifer of St. Louis; daughter, Kimberly Lawler and her husband Greg; grandchildren, Macey, Phoebe, and Stella Lawler of Santa Barbara; and nieces, Dr. Donna Daeschner of Tacoma, Kendra Zugsay and her husband Michael, of San Diego.
He was preceded in death by his father, Frank S. Daeschner, his mother Doris S. Daeschner (both of Oxnard) and his brother, Frank C. Daeschner, of Camarillo.
Having been a surfer most of his life Jim requested that his ashes be scattered at sea.
It was his wish that there be no funeral services.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home and Crematory, 3150 Loma Vista Rd., Ventura. Condolences may be left at TedMayrFuneralHome.com.