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June 4, 1955 – July 29, 2016

James “PJ” Von Tress passed away on July 29, 2016 in his home from complications from congestive heart failure, with his wife Mary at his side. He was 61 years young.

James was born in Silver City, NM on June 4, 1955 to William R. Von Tress (deceased) and Carol J. Conerly. The family soon re-located to Lake Jackson, TX, where he grew up with his four siblings, Mark, Karl, Paul, (deceased), and his adopted sister, Krissy.

James attended Angleton High School. James later moved to Huntsville TX where he attended college at Sam Houston State University where he majored in Drama.

A man of many talents, James started his career in life embracing his love for the arts as a performer at the Texas Renaissance Festivals but soon found other opportunities with Pronet as a sales rep for many years. Being the musician that he was, James found the corporate life restricting his ability and desire to continue in his musical pursuits, so he took a job as a long haul trucker and driver for yellow cab in Houston, which allowed him the flexibility he needed to do what he loved most. His latest field of employment was with his wife Mary, working together as Facility Managers in the self-storage industry, finally settling in at Canyon Rose Self-Storage in Gold Canyon, AZ, where they have worked and lived for the past 15 years. His true passion however, was in music and the arts. James was an accomplished guitarist, singer/song writer, stage actor, and jokester, and he lived to perform, either on the stage, at various venues throughout his travels, or in the family room, for his friends, family, and fellow musicians. Regardless of where he was, James always brought his quick wit and humor with him to brighten up the room. In 1980, James took up sky diving and in one year, logged more than 100 jumps, and participated in numerous team jumps and competitions. Throughout his life, James was an avid motorcyclist, and took to the highways and byways every chance he got. His favorite trips were those that included his brother Mark. Together, they have ridden everywhere from the hill country of Texas, to the deserts of Arizona, to the black hills of South Dakota and everywhere in between.

In 1994 James (“PJ” then) was invited to perform at the Boondocks in Houston, TX for a local benefit, where he met the love of his life, Mary Brown. On September 16, 1995, James and Mary pledged their love for one another, and were married in Houston, TX. In 1998, they packed up the wagon and headed further west to Phoenix, AZ to be closer to their daughter Mandi and their grandchildren.

James is survived by his wife Mary, his adopted daughter, Amanda Ackerman and her husband Michael, grandchildren, Kelsey, Kory, and Mika, his mother Carol, step-mother Lila, older brother Mark and his wife Debbie, nieces Emily and Natalie younger brother Karl and younger sister Krissy. He also is survived by stepbrothers Gary Herbst, Stuart Herbst and stepsister Veronica Bosarge with numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father William and his younger brother Paul.

No funeral arrangements are being made, but there will be a “Celebration of Life” for James in Gold Canyon, Arizona, this fall that will be announced at a later time.

James was cremated at Mountain View Funeral Home and his ashes will be scattered at Surfside Beach, Freeport, Texas as he wished.

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