On Sunday, January 16, 2005 a
Memorial Service was held at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports
Museum in Pomona. This is a modest account of this celebration
of his life and of course, a tribute to an old friend. DE
Photos by John
Ewald and Robert Briggs
One & half hours before the
Memorial. Lots of empty chairs that will later be filled with
standing room only against the walls and showcases.
Above all, DJ believed life should
be fun and if you knew him he did live up to his beliefs.
In the drag racing world Jim
is probably best remembered as the owner of the first Top Fuel
car to officially record a five second run. This was done at
the 1972 NHRA Supernationals at Ontario Motor Speedway with the
late Mike Snively in the seat.
Jim was also an avid hot rodder.
Here's his last streeter a very cool sedan delivery truck. The
beautiful Harley belongs to his wife, Betty.
Dave McClelland MCed the event
saying, among many other things, that Diamond Jim was one of
his very best friends from the time he arrived in California
Standing room only. This image
shows only 2/3 thirds of the room. There were people standing
all around the room and in the hall way. Had everyone come who
would have liked to (like those of us who couldn't get to California)
the entire museum wouldn't have held the crowd.
The Annin family are in the front
row. Jim's wife Betsy is wearing the floral sweater and his son
is a Chief in the Navy. Other family members are in the remaining
front and 2nd row.
Steve Gibbs, Gloria Gibbs, "Doc"
Hales, Herm Petersen and Mike Kuhl are just a few of the folks
in these shots.
Barbara and Wally Parks.
Gary Beck toasts his old friend
with Jim's favorite - Lemon Hart Rum. Gary and Jim were had a
constant presence around Keith Black's in the '70.
Jim "Bones" Noteboom
remembers DJ whom he knew from his old drag boat days and more
recently through street rods.
Herm Petersen and Marvin Graham
share some of their favorite DJ memories.
Another very old friend of Jim,
Leroy "Doc" Hales, laments their days together with
the NHRA Safety Safari.
Next to Jim's family Steve Gibbs
probably took DJ's loss the hardest. They were as close as two
friends could be and its evident here that Steve had some tough
moments getting through his stint at the podium.
Needless to say this wasn't easy
for Betty Annin either. She and Jim were married for a long time
and although not unexpected, his loss will leave a huge void
in her life.
After the "formal"
part of the celebration, Betty stayed to receive a huge line
of well wishers including Roland Leong.
Some of "bar scene in Star
Wars" attendees were John Ewald, Herm Petersen, Steve Gibbs,
Carl Olson, Bob Muravez, Marvin Graham, Dave McClelland and "TV"
John, Roland Leong, Herm
and Richard Schroeder.
Paul Peterson (from the
old Donna Reed Show), TV Tom and Floyd.
Jim VanDyke who worked for many
years with Jim on the NHRA Safety Safari.
From Jim's drag boat days, Larry
"The Shoe" Schwabenland one of the best Blown Fuel
Hydro drivers ever.
Gibbs is getting a headache listening
to Petersen and Olson lie to each other.
Jim's parting gift was befitting
of his character - In-N-Out burgers for everyone! It was an all
you could eat deal and people lined up from the museum door to
the mobile kitchen for a double-double animal style (my favorite).
Ray Alley, Dale Pulde
and Val Harrell.
Steve Gibbs and Betty
Annin say goodbye - for now.
This was Annin's first
Top Fuel at OCIR car in 1971.
Fresh off its five second performance
at Ontario, here's "the blue car" at the Last Drag
Race (Lions) in December of 1972.
DJ last drag racing effort
was this funny car in 1973.
party for "Diamond Jim" Annin
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