In the early morning, on Monday, November 20, 2023, James A. Venable, a beloved husband, father, step-father, grandfather, and dear friend, passed away after a long battle with vascular dementia. He is preceded in death by his loving wife Barbara, his daughter Marie (Matt) Shriver, step-daughter Janice (Cody) Morrow, step-son Joshua (Courtney) Friend, and grandchildren Sofia and Gavin.
James was born on September 22, 1949, in Washington, DC as the second of three children to Marie and James C. Venable. The Venable family moved to Albuquerque in 1955 where James graduated from Highland High School in 1968. He fondly remembered growing up in Albuquerque and riding his bicycle everywhere even to catch a glimpse of a JFK visit in the 1960s. Later, Jim attended the University of New Mexico where he eventually graduated with his BFA with an emphasis in photography. If you knew Jim, he probably took your photograph at some point. Jim, also, worked as a bartender at a few Albuquerque hot spots including the Amfac Hotel Bar (now the Sheraton Albuquerque Airport Hotel) where he served celebrities like Dennis Hopper, Ike and Tina Turner, Clint Eastwood, Marlon Brando, and Jack Nicholson to name a few.
In the early 1990s, after receiving his teaching credentials, Jim and his wife Barbara moved to Spring, TX where his mother and sister resided. He taught elementary, middle, and high school during his 25-year teaching career. He had many students win art awards at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo High School Art Show. During his teaching tenure, he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. He proudly boasted that he never missed a day of teaching while undergoing treatment.
In retirement, Jim and Barbara traveled and spent much of his time photographing weddings, graduating seniors, as well as flowers and architecture all over the world before moving back to Albuquerque in 2018.
He was the life of the party, an avid neighborhood walker, and he would tell you he never met a stranger. His friends knew he was a wine (vino) enthusiast and was a longtime member of the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society. He also loved BMW motorcycles. He won multiple jalapeño eating contests. And he LOVED ice cream.
He will be celebrated on Monday, December 18th, 2023 with a full Catholic Mass and Rosary with an ice cream and wine bar celebration to follow. In place of flowers, please contribute to the New Mexico Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
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