I am very saddened to share the news of the passing of James Russell Lightner, who worked as the bookkeeper and finance advisor for the Washington Literacy Center for more than eight years. James strongly believed in the mission of WLC, and staff, students, and board members would all agree that James was the backbone of WLC.
James started working at WLC in 2010 and quickly brought organization, structure, and much-needed solutions to complicated problems. Over the years, James would be the first person that executive directors met, and he acclimated them with the organization’s history, structure, and even pitfalls and victories. James ensured continuity and was a calming force through some of the most difficult periods and recently shared in our joy when we relocated to our new location. James helped hire our current finance team and continued to use his skills to support and help develop our vision long after he went to work for a different employer.
“James was a bright light and is one of the primary reasons that WLC continues to thrive today, said Daniel Hayden, WLC Board Chair. “He was intelligent, resourceful, and committed to the future of this organization.”
However, most of all, James was an inspiration and friend to WLC and to many of those who work or have worked for WLC. He brought hope, talent, and warmth. We will remember his smile, his wit, and his sense of humor and patience. James transitioned on May 19 after a bout with cancer.