One of the founders of the Humboldt Folklife Society has passed away. Jim (James Wendell) Mangis died in Ventura on February 14, 2016 after a brief illness.
Born in 1953 and raised in Bethesda, Md., Jim attended Humboldt State starting in 1973. He mastered fiddle, mandolin and harmonica while playing for contra dances with the Contra Band. Jim and friends formed the Humboldt Folklife Society. They panhandled around Humboldt Bay one St. Patrick’s Day from the Arcata Plaza to Jimmy Dunn’s in Eureka, raising enough money to produce the first Humboldt Folklife Festival at the Lazy L Ranch in June of 1979.
Jim’s professional career became a series of homages to who he was at his core – a social activist with a pure heart and a true love for empowering people and helping them achieve a good life. During his Humboldt days, he started a community garden in downtown Arcata and worked at the Arcata Recycling Center. He left HSU and went on to manage the Visalia Recycling Center. From operations director for Foodlink in Visalia to Ventura County branch manager for Food Forward as well as his organic nursery business, Good Tilth, Jim continued his list of successes in his community.
He leaves behind his wife, three daughters, four grandchildren and numerous extended family and friends. In Jim’s passing, we all can learn much from him on how to walk lightly on this planet and to give at least as much as we receive.