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Primavera, James & Florence

by Bea Adams

James Joseph Primavera was born in Butte, Montana, April 10, 1891. All his other siblings were born in the Lake Como area of Italy. His mother died when he was four, and they put him in a Catholic Home. He later ran away and lived with a sister until the family moved to Seattle where he became a “printer’s devil,” learning to be a journeyman printer.

He traveled to Juneau, got a job with the Alaska Morning Dispatch, and married Florence Alice Ellison in 1918. She was born in Los Angeles in 1900, and was Scandinavian. They made a striking couple and loved to sing and dance. He got a better job in Cordova with the Daily Times. They lived there till the Daily Alaska Empire wired him with a better offer and the same thing with the Ketchikan Daily Chronicle. Journeymen printers were hard to find in Alaska in those days. Beatrice Florence Primavera, their only child, was born in Ketchikan in 1920.

The three of them moved back to Juneau and to the Empire in 1929. Florence worked at B.M. Behrends Store and Leota’s Dress Shop. Jimmy was a great favorite with the young paper boys at press time as he would always slip them a few extra copies to sell.

Bea graduated from high school in 1938 with forty-six classmates. She immediately went to work for the Territorial government, working for the Game Commission under Frank DuFresne and later, the Territorial Unemployment Office for Joseph Flakne. She left Alaska for Seattle in June, 1942, where she got an apartment and a job and married Jay Adams.

Jim died in St. Ann’s Hospital following a hernia operation in 1945. Beneath a September, 1945, Daily Alaska Empire masthead appeared the following tribute to him:

“The untimely passing of James Primavera, for many years the head of The Empire’s mechanical department is deeply regretted by his fellow employees who have had the pleasure of working with him and enjoying his friendship for the last 16 years. ‘Jimmy’ was all that a good printer should be. He knew the ‘game.’ He knew the intricate machinery that goes to make up a newspaper plant intimately and was an artist of one of the most skilled professions. His death leaves a big gap in The Empire’s staff because printers of ‘Jimmy’s’ skill are few and his passing at the height of his skill and at the prime of manhood is one of those tragedies that is impossible to understand.”

Jim was to have traveled to Seattle for the birth of his grandchild, but he died one month before twins George and Delaine were born to Bea and Jay Adams. Bea and Jay still live in Seattle and have been married 56 years. Florence died in Seattle in 1969.

Bea and Jay Adams shortly after they met in 1942.

Jim and Flo Primavera.

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