James Howard Celestino

June 22, 1963 - April 10, 2021

James Howard Celestino passed away on April 10, 2021 at his home in Bluffdale, UT.  He was born in Van Nuys, CA on June 22, 1963.  He grew up in the Burbank-Glendale area and graduated from Herbert Hoover High School.  In his life, James lived many places and took on many challenges.  He served proudly in both the Air Force and the Army Reserve.  He lived for a time in North Carolina where he worked in printing before learning the cabinetry and furniture making trades that he would put to use for the rest of his life both professionally and personally.  He was an accomplished musician and performed as a drummer in many bands and a variety of genres, making lifelong friends in the process. 

Following his second divorce, James returned to his education and rapidly completed a Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Utah, followed by a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at Antioch University.  James joined the faculty at Salt Lake Community College in 2005, where he advanced to Associate Professor and where he continued to serve until his death. 

James was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, and friend.  He was quick to tell people that he loved them, readily offered help to those in need, and treated his friends as family. 

He was known for his many and varied projects.  In addition to music, writing, and cabinetry, James would often have multiple personal projects in the works including (but not limited to) refurbishing a classic car, as well as a boat, and a motorcycle, building his own motorized trike, running internet businesses, building a teardrop trailer, building furniture for his home, creating original artwork, publishing his novel, making his own jerky and cheese, and many others.  In recent years, his passion lay in building his own cabin retreat in the desert of Nevada for himself and his family. 

James is survived by his wife, Christine, his children, Jennifer (Joe) Hay, David (Krystal Charley), Lauren (Brady) Conklin; his mother Jean Celestino; siblings Barbara, Mark (Carla), Deanna (David Serrano), and Michael; and four grandchildren.  He is preceded in death by his father James Anthony Celestino, and his son Mischa Wines. 

A celebration of life will be on Saturday, April 17, 2021 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City.