Deceased March 4, 2003

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In Memory

Jim Creane was born in Holyoke, Mass., on  May 1, 1939, and grew up there. After graduating from Holyoke High School, he entered Amherst with the rest of our class in 1957, having collected a good number of high school honors, as most of us had done. He failed to return to the College for sophomore year and soon moved to New York City, where he apparently lived for the rest of his life. He died there on March 4, 2003. We know very little about Jim’s life after Amherst.

Joe Richardson remembers: “I ran into Jim Creane in Manhattan either in 1962 or 1963. He was working in a bookstore (the kind that doesn't exist any longer). As I recall, he recommended Catch 22, which we discussed after I read it. Our paths diverged not long after, and I lost touch with him.” If Joe is right about the date, it places Jim among the early fans of that novel—the vanguard who, by word of mouth, turned a book that attracted very little notice when it was published in 1961 into the cultural phenomenon it became soon thereafter.  

And Roger Cox reports near misses: “Jim Creane was a real mystery to me. He first came to my attention when I was class agent and had a list of everyone in the class and made calls. As I remember, he lived in New York City, and despite my efforts, I never could get past speaking to (I assume) his wife.” So we may infer that Jim did not live a solitary existence and that he preferred to maintain his connection, however tenuous, with Amherst ’61 than to stop those pesky phone calls by getting himself removed from the class roster.

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