We lost Jim Lothrop on January 30, 2008. During his last decade, his quality of life was dramatically diminished by the residual effects of a severe stroke. Nonetheless, despite his condition, Jim retained his optimism and his special sense of humor to the end. Though he was wheelchair bound, his mind stayed clear and his memories of Amherst adventures were undimmed.
Jim enlisted in the US Navy in 1944. His thirty months of active duty included duty in the Pacific, some of which was at the Tinian Airfield from which the Enola Gay flew to Hiroshima. He served in the reserve until 1951 and was later named Honorary Squadron Commander of the 100th OMS at Pease AFB.
After Amherst, he purchased the JE Lothrop Furniture Company, which he owned and operated until selling it in 1970. He then worked for the State of New Hampshire, Department of Safety, until he retired in the early 1990s. For several years after retirement, he continued working part time as a licensed bonded private investigator. He was quite active in politics and civic affairs, serving on the public relations staff for Governor Peterson, serving as a Dover City councilor, as co-chairman of the Council Manager Committee, and as chair of the City Manager Selection Committee. He served on the board of directors of the Dover Chamber of Commerce, as a past president of the Dover Exchange Club, and as a charter member of the Garrison Players. He was a former member of the Cocheco Country Club, the Portsmouth Yacht Club, and the Pease Air Force Base Officers Club.
Jim and I were Dover schoolmates during the 1930s. We reconnected in 1946 when we found that we were roommates in James Hall. We became Chi Phi brothers and also were members of the “Decius Chapter” that, shortly before graduation, challenged the varsity crew to a one mile race on the Connecticut River—a race won by the varsity in spite of our half mile handicap. Jim always had a late model car on hand, which he cheerfully loaned to us for important trips across the “Notch.” After Amherst, Jim asked me to be his best man when he married Joanne Shepard of Mount Holyoke College. We reconnected again when I started practicing in Dover in 1962. Jim found us a rental and helped us get settled. When we bought a home, he discounted the Ethan Allen furnishings we purchased from his furniture company. Through the years, he was a generous, good natured, fun loving, and loyal friend. Jim is survived by his second wife, Delores (Watkins); his two sons, Hal and Michael; and his two daughters, Leigh and Kristen. Jim will be missed. We are inspired by his courage, and we will always remember his remarkable sense of humor. He never quit, and he kept us smiling.
—Robert P. Hatch ’50