James Allan Burchell

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James Allan Burchell

MADISON, N.J. - James Allan Burchell, 59, of Madison, N.J., passed away suddenly at home on March 24, 2014. Born in Mineola, N.Y. on August 11, 1954, he was the son of Gerard and Verna (Varley) Burchell, Jr. Spending the early part of his childhood in New York, he moved with his family to Rochester, N.H. in 1965.

After graduating from Spaulding High School, Jim attended the University of Virginia, then came back to N.H. and started a career in politics, serving three terms as a New Hampshire state representative and one term on the Rochester, N.H. city council. While fulfilling his duties as a public official, he attended the University of New Hampshire, graduating in 1980. Jim was named UNH's first Truman Scholar and continued his education at the University of Michigan, earning a master's degree in public policy in 1983. While in Michigan, Jim held a job at Quest for Peace, a Washington D.C. - based nonprofit organization which sends humanitarian aid abroad. This led to Jim's lifelong commitment to giving back.

Jim met Roxanne Friedenfels while at the University of Michigan and they were married in Wisconsin on June 23, 1984 and together they raised three children. Jim and Roxanne moved to New Jersey in 1987 and in 1990 Jim co-founded and became the director of PeaceWorks, a nonprofit organization that works to aid the people of the Americas, particularly Nicaragua, and support progressive change in our nation. Twice a year, the organization has sent shipments of computers, household goods, medical supplies, bicycles, and sporting goods, among other items. Jim would also lead annual delegations to Nicaragua, to visit the organizations receiving aid. Jim loved these trips and loved helping people. Whether he was shoveling a neighbor's driveway, coaching youth soccer teams, or teaching someone how to grow produce in a community garden, he was always helping someone.

Jim loved his wife and children deeply, and he enjoyed his trips to N.H. to visit family and friends. He was known for his storytelling and his puns, and he loved to fish and to garden, always sharing what he grew. He was a true "people person" who took an interest in everyone he met. Jim was loved by so many; he will be greatly missed and always remembered.

Jim is survived by his wife of 30 years, Roxanne Friedenfels of Madison, N.J., daughters, Robin Friebur of Minneapolis, Minn., Jesse Friebur of Madison, N.J., and son Brandon Friebur of Madison NJ, brother, Tim Burchell of Malden, Mass., sister, Judy Brownell and her husband Skip of Strafford, N.H.

Also surviving are father-in-law Robert Friedenfels, brothers-in-law Randy Friedenfels and his wife Juanita Timm, and Rick Friedenfels and his wife Corinne Kolbe, all of Medford, Wis., sister-in law Elizabeth Friedenfels of Merrill, Wis., his aunt, Dolly Varley of Washington, Conn., and many special nieces, nephews, and cousins.

There will be three services to celebrate Jim's life:

A PeaceWorks service was held on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Chatham-Summit Quaker Meeting House, 158 Southern Blvd., Chatham, N.J. A second service was held on Saturday May 24, 2014 at 2 at Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, N.J.

And a Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 11:00 at the First United Methodist Church, 34 South Main Street, Rochester, N.H.

In lieu of flowers and if desired, the family suggests that memorial donations be made in Jim's memory to PeaceWorks, 150 Indiana Street, Maplewood, N.J. 07040.

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Published in Fosters from June 5 to June 8, 2014
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