2015-01-01 / Obituaries

James (Jim) Cleto Culp, Sr.

James (Jim) Cleto Culp, Sr., best known as “Pop,” passed away in his sleep on Christmas evening after a long illness. He was 79, and had lived in Mariposa County for nine years.

Pop was born in Whittier, (Los Angeles County) on July 23, 1935. His parents were Harvey E. Culp and Carolina M. Torres. He was the eldest of three, followed by his sister Anita Catherine (married to Jim Justice of Paso Robles) and his brother Harvey Edward (Ed) Culp, married to Karen (Kakie) Brebes of Riverside.

Pop met and married the love of his life, Bettie J. Weatherford, on Dec. 11, 1954. Before his passing, the couple had celebrated a 60th wedding anniversary.

Because of his work, they were able to travel the world while raising three children. The children include James Cleto Culp, Jr., who married Cheri Abbott— who had three beautiful children, Carly, James (wife Sheena) and Cody and reside in Pleasanton. Next is Johnathan Mitchell Culp and his son Jonathan, residents of Long Beach, Calif. His children also include daughter Jessica (Lynn), who married Scott Vaughn. Together they had four beautiful children, including Jaqui (husband Brandon Winsor) and Cali, Michael and Rocky, all residents of Mariposa. Pop was also blessed with one great-granddaughter, Mia Vaughn Winsor, who brought great joy to his life for five wonderful years.

Pop’s career began in Avenal (Kings County) with Newton Drilling. He then moved to Chevron in Avenal, then transferring to Oxnard and then Orange County. Later he joined Global Marine’s offshore drilling operation, and the travels began. Among the highlights of his career were building three jack-up oil rigs in Ontario, Canada.

He was also crucial in the implementation and operation of the USNS Hughes Glomar Explorer, during which time he did some covert work for the CIA, which he was very proud of. He also dropped a “Som Base” off the islands of Hawaii as well as the coast of Santa Barbara. There were many more adventures that he was not allowed to talk about throughout his career.

One of Pop’s pleasures was building cars. He built his first car at age 14. He enjoyed building motors for drag boats, drag cars, quarter midgets and sprint cars. He started out drag racing on the street and then went onto building drag boats, after that he built a land-speed roadster with his family for the Bonneville Salt Flats. During his career overseas he started his interests in sprint car racing in Perth, Australia. He came home and continued his interests in sprint cars, and was a member of the CRA, and travelled the United States with the World of Outlaws. He also belonged to the Roadrunner Club of the NHRA in Whittier. Pop ended his career in racing in quarter-midgets with his grandchildren.

Pop also served as a president for Little League and as a coach for his two sons’ teams. Throughout his life he was often heard saying “life doesn’t get any better than this”—first with his children, then his grandchildren, and in the recent years with his greatgrandchild. He shared all his enjoyments with his family.

Pop had a full and happy life and decided to retire from the overcrowded and loud city life in Rowland Heights (Los Angles County) to the quiet of Mariposa, where he worked on a 1956 Ford pick-up and enjoyed drinking coffee with the bears.

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My condolences to Bettie and

My condolences to Bettie and the boys, Clete and Mitch. It was sad news when I found this on the internet after loosing touch with your family since leaving Australia all those years ago. I will let Mum and Dad know as they truly valued your friendship, even it was across the other side of the world.

All our love and blessings to

All our love and blessings to the entire Culp family. So very sad to learn of Jim's passing. Prayers as you move forward. Jack and Jacqui Long

Bette and family. Heart

Bette and family. Heart breaking to read this news. Please relay to the entire family our heartfelt condolences. We were so looking forward to carching up now that we have a place in Mariposa. Beautiful tribute to Jim "Pops" was written. God bless you all and embrace you with comfort. Jack and Jacqui

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