Jim’s Eulogy

God must have needed a warrior by his side when he called Jim home this past week.  For any of us who have known Jimmy, was to have borne witness to what it meant to have true faith and love for God, Family, and Country.  

Jim’s first and greatest passion was for his wife Margaret, who he met at a singles dance, when that was still a “thing.”  It took a while for Margaret to agree to Jim’s advances, but finally, after four years, their life’s journey together in faith started when they married in 1971. 

They were blessed with 2 sons Jeffrey and Joseph who were the center of their lives, and their 5 grandchildren, Emily, Danny, Gabriella, Dante, and Dominic.

Jim was always a man of strong passions and wore his heart-on-his-sleeve.  He found a place in those uncomfortable spaces other people would shy away.  Jim sought those places out and jumped in with both feet. Some of Jim’s greatest friendships grew out of those times when he jumped into the middle of the fray and found an outstretched hand seeking help, and he was always the first to help lift them up.  

Jim couldn’t stand any kind of social injustice.  Many a night Jim would look forward to speaking directly to those in power with only his words and the truth on his side.  He would often come home bloodied and frustrated by some new cause, but he was never deterred. You could never tell Jim something wasn’t possible or some group was just too big to be held accountable.  Jim’s passion for Justice was just as powerful as his compassion for those he loved.  

Family meant everything to Jim and he loved going to his sister Mary’s house every Christmas Eve. Mary would invite the family to get together and eat and share memories. Inevitably Jim and Mary would disagree loudly about something from their childhood. You had to wonder if they actually grew up in the same household!  Memories of those nights will always be cherished.

Jim had an amazing intellect and learning and sharing his knowledge were second nature to him. He embodied this love in his career as a high school teacher of troubled teens and nightly sessions yelling out the answers to obscure Jeopardy questions. Jim and Margaret managed to win a family trip to Disney World when they entered and won a trivia contest.  

But at the center of Jim’s life was always his faith and the church.  Jim loved serving as a Eucharistic Minister and usher for this parish and was sad when his body wouldn’t allow him the ability to continue to serve those roles. Jim was all sheer gut and determination, even when his own fears challenged to overtake him, he persevered.  One of his final acts before leaving this earth was to drag himself to the last row of pews in this very church to take communion after collapsing in the parking lot. He would later need emergency surgery to restore proper blood flow to his legs, and he lamented several times over the following weeks before his passing, how much he missed going to church to receive communion.  Church always gave Jim such amazing comfort and peace.  

Jim lived a life full of love and laughter and leaves behind a legacy greater than any sum of its parts.  He loved music and was frequently heard singing, often words that were slightly incorrect like when he sang the theme from Oklahoma. His version went – 

“Oklahoma is the place for you and me!”

He loved deeply and taught all those who knew him how to do the same.  He was a great husband, father, brother, teacher, community leader, and man.  He left this world not only not less but greater than how he found it. We are all the better for having had Jim a part of our lives and pray those in heaven have as much patience with him as Margaret did here on earth.

Amen.

5 Responses to “Jim’s Eulogy”

  1. Bruce says:

    Thank you Jim’s family for sharing these loving, inspiring stories about the man I knew only from his passionate speeches at town meetings, via video, and this blog.

    It was obvious to me that he spoke truth to power undeterred because he had a higher power on his side. He instinctly knew the difference between right and wrong and tried to imbue politicians and others with the same conscience. He was a warrior for the people of Amherst and leaves a great void.

  2. jjtric says:

    Thank you for your comment. He would be very happy and a bit surprised by the number of people who have been so supportive of me and my family for our loss. I am trying to get the site back up and running for the people he loved so much – the people of Amherst. Have a blessed day.

  3. Peter A Reese says:

    Jim was a good man who always spoke up for what he believed was right. He will be missed.

  4. Thank you for your comment. You are right. He was passionate about standing up for what he believed was best for Amherst.

  5. Dan Ward says:

    Jim – in his quasi public capacity – had the time and patience to sit through endless hours of board and committee meetings – and always able to cut to the quick in his analysis – he could smell a government weasel a mile away – and never ceased to expose them as such- RIP Jim.