James ‘Jim’ Eastham, Sr. was a beloved member of the Front Royal community who cared passionately for his hometown.
Eastham, 65, died Nov. 17. He was a life-long resident of Front Royal who devoted much of his life to extensive and wide-ranging work in the community. Eastham served two terms as mayor of Front Royal, from 2004-2008, and served as a chairman of the Warren Memorial Hospital, the Warren Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Front Royal Planning Commission and the Chamber of Commerce.
Nikki Foster, president of the Chamber of Commerce in Front Royal said emotionally that Eastman’s death is still raw in her mind. Eastham’s friendship was very precious to her. “We shared a very special bond,” Foster said.
Eastham was a big advocate of the Front Royal chamber, Foster explained. “He lived and breathed it,” she said.
Eastham believed in the work the chamber did, but most importantly wanted to see Front Royal prosper for generations to come, Foster said. Eastham’s devotion to his hometown was something, Foster said, that set him apart. He worked continuously to see its beautification.
“No one knew more about the history of Front Royal than Jim,” Foster said.
His passion for its history is something Foster said she will always remember. “He would be riding in a car or walking down the street, and would be inspired by the history that surrounded him,” Foster said.
She also noted Eastham’s love for art. After entering a photograph in an art contest, Foster told Eastham how much she enjoyed it. When the exhibit ended, the photograph appeared on her desk. “That’s just the type of man he was. Always giving,” Foster said.
Alan Wimer, a member of the Front Royal Rotary Club, said he will always remember Eastham as a man of high integrity, love of family, church and community. “He was a guy willing to roll up his sleeves and get involved,” Wimer said. “He truly cared and for this community. His leadership and involvement will be truly missed.”
Rick Novak, President of Front Royal Rotary Club, said via a personal statement, “Jim exemplified what it means to be a Rotarian in the Front Royal club! Whether it was heading up a Major charity fundraiser, spearheading Shelter Boxes for those in need after natural disasters or seeing a need for a children’s playground in our community, Jim was there and he got it done! There is now a big hole in the heart of our club and community! I will miss Jim’s friendship and guidance greatly!”
“A tsunami of love” is how Denise Eastham, his wife, described the days to come in her post titled, “A Life Well Lived”, the journal entry sharing with the community the death of the man she called her “beloved James.”
Eastham’s Caring Bridge site, “Joy for Jim” was flooded with heartfelt words to Denise Eastham and other family members. “A life so very well lived and loved,” said Ashley Costello’s entry. “We all will miss him but feel honored to know and love him as a friend, family member, community leader, and just a great guy,” said Kathy Napier’s entry.
Jim was named Citizen of the Year by the Blue Ridge Arts Council in 2005 and received similar recognition throughout his life, including the Rotary Club of Front Royal’s “Dr. Robert E. ‘Bob’ Miller Community Service Award” in August, which he earned for his lifetime involvement in civic and charitable organizations.
“It’s no secret how important Jim was,” Foster said. “The impact of his death will be felt for decades to come.”
Those wishing to pay their respects to Jim Eastham may do so at: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/joyforjim
Caring Bridge is a website used as a connection point for people to easily get updates and offer support and encouragement for loved ones.