About Jim Neill
Jim was born in Portland, Sept. 8, 1945, to James K. Neill Sr. and Bettylou Swart, descendants of pioneer families who could trace their lineage to passengers on the Mayflower. Jim grew up in his grandparents’ historic home on Northeast Sumner Street. He attended Highland Grade School (now Martin Luther King Jr. Grade School) and was active in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. Jim attended Jefferson High School as his mother had. He was involved in the Junior Achievement Program and lettered on the golf team all four years. As a senior, he was also a cheerleader for all varsity sports.
Jim graduated in 1963 and went on to Oregon State University where he pledged Sigma Phi Epsilon. He majored in business and developed an interest in the law. In his sophomore year he met his life partner, Katy Boyl, whom he married soon after graduation. Jim studied law at Willamette University, graduating in the top third of his class.
After law school, Jim chose the small firm of Martin & Robertson to start his career. In 1973 he became a partner and helped grow the firm into what it is today-Davis Wright Tremaine. Through that time, Jim spent many years as managing partner while carving a new specialty in hospitality industry law and co-founded the Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys and Consultants.
Jim and Katy raised two children, Erin Kathleen, born in 1972 and Geoffrey James born in 1975. Jim was an active and involved father who encouraged his children to be their best. His joy of fatherhood was eclipsed only by the arrival of his three grand-children, Katy, Owen, and Bettylou, who are, of course, perfect.
Jim was a member of Waverley Golf and Country Club, the Restaurant Association of Oregon, the Oregon and Washington Bar associations, Moreland Presbyterian Church, and Multnomah Athletic Club. His volunteer work was extensive, as he gave his time and expertise to the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, Regional Arts and Cultural Council, Friends of the Performing Arts Center, the Portland Rose Festival Association, the boards of the Oregon Restaurant Association, Mount Hood Museum and Cultural Center, the Washington State Hotel & Lodging Association, the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys, the Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys and Consultants, and the board of Healthlink.
He has received many awards over the years. Most recently he was honored with the Oregon Restaurant Association’s Industry Achievement Award. Occasionally, and inexplicably, Jim speculated that he could have led a more caring and full life. His family, friends, and colleagues can attest, however, that he led a life characterized by compassion for everyone he met, a passion for learning, a pure love of life and family, and a faith tempered by a healthy dose of skepticism. He remained ever open to life’s possibilities.