The Daily Me


Gordon James WILLIMANTIC, ME and DIGHTON, MA- Gordon E. James, 91, died June 29, 2010 on his farm in Willimantic, Maine. Gordon was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts October 28, 1918, the son of Herbert and Mabel (Baker) James. He married his wife, Sally (Gray) James of East Providence, Rhode Island, in 1941. Sally predeceased Gordon in 2000. Together they raised five children. He leaves behind his sons and daughters-in-law, Russell and Nancy James of Dighton, MA; Edwin and Leigh James of Raleigh, NC; and his daughters and sons-in-law, Judith and Edward Buswick of Chelmsford, MA; Susan and Thomas Tufts of Woodbridge, VA; and Julia and Peter St. Yves of Lakeville, MA. Additionally, Gordon and Sally were blessed with 12 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.

Gordon enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May 1941, gaining the rank of Aviation Chief Machinist's Mate (T). He trained airplane mechanics in the states and was en route to the Pacific in 1945 when the war ended. On his return home, Gordon built his first home in Barrington, Rhode Island and purchased the James Motor Company in East Providence. Shortly thereafter, he established James Auto Body and owned and managed both businesses for over 30 years. In 1954, he and his family moved to Dighton, Massachusetts. There, Gordon restored their 18th century colonial home that is on the list of historic homes of Dighton.

Gordon was an avid hunter in his youth and this hobby brought him to Maine every deer season for many years into his adulthood. He bought his Maine farm in the late 60's and after its renovation he and Sally retired there in 1978. On the farm he continued to enjoy his love and restoration of antiques and also took great pride in the many crops he produced over the years, most enjoyably his potatoes and hay. During the early Springs, he and a neighbor produced many gallons of maple syrup which were always enjoyed by family and friends. However, glaucoma caused the gradual diminishing of his eyesight and he became totally blind in 2007. Although his blindness restricted many of his various hobbies, he was always an avid reader and was very thankful for the Talking Book Program provided by the Augusta, Maine Library that allowed him to continue "reading" prolifically.

Gordon was also thankful to his many friends in Willimantic who provided their generous assistance, allowing him to remain on his farm as his blindness progressed over the years. With their help and his family's support, his blindness did not stop him from his continued residence and oversight of his beloved 80 acre farm. One of his greatest pleasures was to harvest the first potato hill each year - a ceremonial task, assisted by a family member. He was diagnosed with leukemia on May 31 and succumbed shortly thereafter. He was dearly loved by family and friends and will be greatly missed by them all.

Viewing hours will be held Thursday, July 1, 2010 from 6 to 8 pm at Crosby & Neal, 21 Oak Street, Guilford, Maine, where funeral services will be held at 1 pm on Friday, July 2nd, with Pastor A. Maurice Neal officiating. Burial will be in the Riverside Cemetery in Willimantic. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Gordon's memory may be made to the Willimantic, Maine, Civic Association, c/o Nancy Tatko, 814 Sebec Lake Road, Willimantic, ME 04443; Augusta, Maine Library Talking Book Program; Community Health and Counseling Services Hospice, P.O. Box 425, Bangor, ME 04402.

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