James R. Alger, a dairy farmer and rancher, died Tuesday at his El Rio home. He was 90.
Alger was born in Holland on March 25, 1909. At 18, he and his brother Tom immigrated to the United States, arriving in New York. Later he helped his 11 brothers and sisters move to this country.
After living a short time in Michigan, the Alger family moved to California.
On Aug. 13, 1938, he married Alfreda Anspach in Long Beach, and they settled in Ventura County.
He leased a dairy farm in Port Hueneme that year and went into the dairy farming business. Two years later, he purchased the Poinsettia Stock Farm in El Rio and operated it as a dairy farm until he retired in 1957.
Alger purchased several businesses and citrus ranches in Ventura, Delano, Hesperia, Cuyama, Turlock and Los Angeles.
About the time he retired, he built a landmark in Ventura, the Loops Restaurant, which has since been renamed Mike's Restaurant. It was a popular resting stop for long-distance travelers along U.S. 101 as well as a favorite of local diners.
Alger was an avid golfer and founding member of the Soule Golf Club in Ojai. He had been active in Rotary and the Elks, and supported the 4-H Club and Boy's Club of Oxnard.
His daughter, Valerie Kiunke of El Rio, said her father loved to fish, especially with his grandchildren. He also played the harmonica and enjoyed marching bands, especially music by John Philip Sousa. She remembered riding one of the family's horses in the Ventura County Fair parade and how proud he was to watch.
In addition to his Kiunke, Alger is survived by daughters Judith Blane Goldwater of Northridge and Dorothy Stine of Ventura; two brothers, Ernie of Fruitland, Idaho, and Ted of Desert Hot Springs; two sisters, Julie Mapes of Lake Elsinore and Minnie Hodges of Orange; nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by Alfreda, who died in 1989.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ventura County Community Foundation, where an endowment is being set up in the name of James and Alfreda Alger to assist charitable organizations.
Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Ted Mayr Funeral Home in Ventura. Services are scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home, with the Revs. Jim Wells and Lloyd Wilson officiating. Interment will follow at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura.
A gathering of family and friends will follow the services at Mike's Restaurant in Ventura.