James “Jimba” was born in Long Beach, California, the oldest of two children. He attended Long Beach City College and then was accepted into the U.S. Marine Corp, where he was deployed to Okinawa, the Philippines, and Japan. After his tour of duty, he attended Woodbury College and Pasadena ArtCenter College of Design, then Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. He was an artist at heart, a skill which was showcased in the popular “Jimba’s Restaurant” in Provo. He and his brother, John, built and operated “Jimba’s from 1968 to 1984. While at BYU, James was baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He married Barbara Betzing, and they resided in Lindon, Utah. Barbara was instrumental in helping John and James run “ Jimba’s.” After 12 years of marriage, Jim and Barbara divorced, and later, he married another restaurant owner, Pam Norris. For two years, they ran both Jimba’s, in Provo and Hardy’s restaurant in St. George, Utah. After their marriage dissolved, Jim moved to Arizona to help his brother run a sandwich shop, “Jimba’s Too” in Mesa. He Married Ella Murrin in the Manti Temple, and they were married for 26 years. He loved Ella very much, and they made some wonderful memories together. Jim went on to work at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa in its Food and Nutrition Services- a job worked for 14 years, before retiring in 2007. He Then worked part time for his brother, John, at Wudel International, in Gilbert, Arizona.
James was a gentle soul, always kind, considerate and even tempered. He loved all of God’s creatures, especially reptiles, birds and all animals. He looked at life with the eye of an artist and found beauty where most would see no value, even finding value in the smallest details. He had a reputation for his generosity and not judging others. Rather, he always believed the best in everyone, always looking for the good in them. He especially loved being with his four nieces, nephews, and spouses, and their 16 children. He believed in God and always showed reverence for his Savior Jesus Christ. His parents, Dr. Rheinhold and Kathryn Wudel, preceded him in death. He is survived by his son, Christopher James Wudel, Salt Lake City, Utah; daughter, Jaclyn Kay Wudel, Woodland Hills, Utah; and Caitlin Angelina Wudel, Woodland Hills, Utah. Also, brother, John Anthony Wudel, ( Nanci), Mesa, AZ; nephews and nieces, Tricia Wudel Baird ( Bret), Robyn Wudel Rickeberg ( Jason), David Wudel ( Amy), Johnny Wudel ( Corinne), and 16 great nephews and nieces as well as Nanci’s sister Becky Woods, and brother- in-law, Tommy Woods, of Chandler, whom he appreciated so much. Private family services will be held in Mesa, Arizona, with arrangements handled by Bunker Funeral Homes, Mesa. James “Jimba,” you brought much happiness into the world. You are loved by many who will have cherished memories of you forever. Semper Fi.