2017-02-10 / Obituaries

James Bouma

James Benjamin Bouma – “Jim” – passed peacefully at Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford on Feb. 1, 2017 at the age of 71. A longtime resident of Kennebunk, he battled a confluence of health issues over his final years.

He is survived by his son, Benjamin George Bouma, and his second wife, Betsy Meader Bouma, both of Kennebunk. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Janet Bauers Bouma (2006) and his youngest son, James Paul Bouma (1978), as well as his parents, Benjamin Goss Bouma and Dorothy (Pat) Alice Murphy Bouma (both in 1999) and his younger sister, Jane Elizabeth Bouma (2014), all of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.

His parents, Ben and Pat, met in 1944 at the Army Air Base in McCook, Nebraska. Born in McCook on July 17, 1945, while Lieutenant Bouma was stationed in Hawaii, mother and her newborn son relocated to his father’s hometown of Coraopolis, awaiting his return from the war. Jim graduated from Coraopolis High School where he excelled in football and baseball. He attended Washington & Jefferson College graduating with bachelor’s degree in history and earned a master’s in the same field with a specialization in the Civil War at the University of Pittsburgh.

While at Washington & Jefferson, he met Janet Bauers, a student at nearby Slippery Rock State College. They went on to marry in January of 1969.

After a one-year stint as a football coach and teacher at his alma mater Coraopolis High, he took a position at the Tatnall School in Wilmington, Delaware, where he spent six years as a coach, administrator and dean of students. In the summer of 1976, Jim moved the family to New England, accepting a position at The Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts. Over the next 33 years, he served in several instrumental roles including dean of the Lower School, athletic director, chairman of co-education implementation and project coordinator overseeing the construction and rehabilitation of many athletic and administration buildings.

Over that same span, “JBB” continued to teach several subjects and coach football, hockey and baseball at the varsity and sub-varsity levels. His wife Janet also worked at Rivers for many years as assistant to the head of the Upper School until she passed in 2006. Known for his meticulous attention to detail and consistent balance of toughness, heart, class and humility, he was beloved by the thousands of students, faculty and coaches he worked with over the decades until health issues forced his retirement in 2009.

In the fall of 2008, Jim had the fortune of meeting his second wife, Betsy Meader. They were married in the spring of 2010 and he was forever fond of her children James, Katie and Jeff and their grandchildren Matteo and Emily.

A celebration of Jim’s life is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. on the campus of The Rivers School at 333 Winter St. in Weston, Massachusetts. Friends, family, former co-workers, students and players are invited to attend the event inside Hutton Hall in the MacDowell Athletic Center.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Jim to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to support cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or via www.jimmyfund.org/gift.

To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, please visit Jim’s Book of Memories Page at www.bibberfuneral.com.

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