Local News

James L. Thacker 1942-2023

James L. Thacker was born on April 14, 1942, in Columbus, Ohio, to parents Lawrence and Norma Thacker. He was the second of three children. He is survived by an older sister, Janet Allen (Thacker).

Jim graduated in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Bradley University, Illinois. After graduation, Jim was employed at Lazarus Department Store in downtown Columbus, specializing in merchandising.

In 1967, Jim met Ann M Strickler. In 1968, Jim was drafted into the Army and served in the Vietnam War, where he spent 1 year in Support Operations. Upon Jim’s return home, Jim and Ann were married on September 28, 1969.

June 1, 1978, Jim and Ann purchased the Village Art Center, an art supplies and custom picture framing business located in the French Village Shopping Center on S. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton.  They owned and operated this custom picture-framing business for 33 years. After a few years in the business they stopped selling art supplies and opened space for an art gallery exhibiting many local artists. They participated in A Night in Fullerton and in the Fullerton Art Walk.

Jim was a determined and disciplined entrepreneur.  Jim mastered the artistic skill of custom picture framing and developed a reputation throughout Orange County for his high quality and artistic craftsmanship.   Jim and Ann moved the business two times, each time to a better location in downtown Fullerton. In 1993, it was the final location where Jim and Ann purchased the property at 529 N. Harbor Boulevard, which runs through the heart of Orange County. Jim and Ann retired and sold the Village Art Center business in October of 2011.

When Jim was not working, he enjoyed spending time with family, attending church, and going to hear live musical performances. Jim and Ann had season tickets to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic in downtown LA. He also loved the opera! Jim took several opera courses at Fullerton College, just for fun.

For approximately forty years, Jim and Ann were faithful members of the First Baptist Church of Fullerton, later known as Wilshire Avenue Community Church. In 1978, the church family loved and supported them when their daughter Maia Ellen died suddenly at 3 years old.

Jim loved his family. He thoroughly loved spending time with his wife, children, and their spouses: Colleen and Ruben Velasco and their daughter Christina Joy Velasco (17); Matthew and Tegan Thacker and their sons Levi James Thacker (10), and Jude Matthew Thacker (7).

In 2021, Jim and Ann decided to sell their home in Brea, California, after thirty-six years and move to North Texas to be near their children’s families.

On April 18, 2023, Jim died of natural causes while being treated in a hospital in McKinney, Texas.

2 replies »

  1. How sad to learn of Jim’s death! I liked and respected him for his expert advice and unmatched treatment of anything I brought in for framing. His work was beautiful, and I am proud to have several prints that he framed.

    It was always a fun visit with Jim and Ann whenever I went to Village Art Center. They both had such good taste and were helpful and kind.

  2. Jim was one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. He framed several pieces for us over the years and did beautiful work. All are still hanging in our home.

    My condolences to the family.