James P. Gilligan ’52 died July 28, 2012.
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Jim Gilligan passed away on July 28, 2012. Jim and I worked together on the Student and were co-sports editors in our senior year. Jim was a quiet person, very dependable, and in the words of one of our classmates: “He was a helluva nice guy.” I remember one event very well. The soccer team played Tufts in Medford and won. Immediately I called Jim at the printers in Northampton and summarized the game. He wrote up the story, along with the headline, and it appeared in the Student the next day. In 1947 it marked the first time an athletic event on Wednesday was covered in the Thursday edition of the Student.
Jim is survived by his wife of 37 years, Rita, and two daughters, Rebecca and Allyn, and two grandchildren. Jim was a member of Psi Upsilon. In addition to being a first-rate reporter and editor for the Amherst Student, Jim played basketball and was known for his long-range set shots. In one game after he made a shot from mid-court just before the buzzer, a classmate said, “That shot will get Jim into Sphinx.”
In his early 60s, Jim and Rita joined the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass. Jim loved tennis and golf, and he and Rita won the mixed-doubles tennis championship soon after they became members. Another member told Jim later that new members were not supposed to win championships. He was kidding, of course.
After graduation Jim became an officer in the U.S. Navy. He served as an intelligence officer with a fighter squadron in the Seventh Fleet. In his civilian life, Jim became director of the Grossman Library at Harvard University until his retirement in 2001. He will be remembered as a thoughtful, friendly guy and a loving husband and father who contributed a great deal to Amherst life. He will be missed.
—Jim Howard ’52