McGee, James M.
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Jim McGee, age 48, died at Stamford Hospital on June 29, 2014 of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on June 27, 2014. An experienced motorcyclist, Jim was injured when a truck turned left directly in front of him in Stamford.
A 17-year resident of Stamford, eleven of those years were spent at his home in the Bungalow Park neighborhood. Born in Washington, D.C. on September 19, 1965 Jim moved frequently with his family when his father, a corporate executive, was transferred to New Jersey, Michigan and California before moving to Scarsdale, New York where Jim spent most of his childhood years. He was a 1983 graduate of Scarsdale High School.
Always interested in nature, Jim decided he wanted to become an arborist after taking courses in Arboriculture and Landscape Design in High School. Prior to college enrollment Jim spent several years in a self-directed apprenticeship program to develop his skills and to work on different tree species around the country. He worked with several tree companies in Vail, Colorado, Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington and in the Adirondacks in upstate New York.
With his country-wide hands-on experience Jim enrolled at the Stockbridge School of Forestry of the University of Massachusetts where he quickly became a Teaching Assistant in various classes and received an Associate of Science degree in Arboriculture and Park Management in 1994. He transferred to the University of Massachusetts and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Forestry in 1996. He followed his undergraduate education by attending a joint course offered by Waseda University of Tokyo, Japan and Lewis and Clark University in Portland Oregon where he studied the Japanese language and "Nature and Environment Issues in Japan."
In his career he was Staff Arborist and Instructor in Horticulture at the New York Botanical Gardens, 1996 -2001 before becoming Tree Care Supervisor at New York Central Park, 2001 - 2006, where he and his teams were responsible for the 27,000 trees in the Park. In 2000 he started his own tree care company, Tree Pro, where he performed tree work for commercial and private customers in the CT - NY region. At the time of his death he was an Arborist with the Tree Division of the Department of Parks and Recreation of the town of Greenwich, CT in addition to continuing his activities with Tree Pro on weekends.
Jim was a Certified Arborist of the International Society of Arborists, a premiere designation of professionalism in the industry and was a Consulting Arborist with the American Society of Consulting Arborists. He taught tree care in various venues ranging from the Yale University School of Forestry to a NYC program to train inner-city youth in tree care as a profession. He developed a strong reputation in his field and had authored a number of articles in trade journals.
Jim was an avid outdoorsman and sportsman and he enjoyed motorcycling, skiing, weight-training, soccer and rugby as well as the martial arts. He was committed to physical fitness and became a Certified Instructor in various gymnastic activities including Kickboxing.
Jim is survived by his father, James McGee of Sun City, CA, a Viet Nam-era veteran of the U.S. Army and his sister Kate McGee of Boston, MA.
Unmarried, Jim spent time with his girlfriend, Val, and his beloved Rottweiler, Mack. He will be missed for his always-positive attitude, his curiosity about almost everything, professional skills and extraordinary sense of humor.
Jim's cremated remains will be interred in CA with those of his late mother, Margaret McNeill McGee, an Episcopal chaplain.
To honor Jim's life and share remembrances, a memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at the Leo P. Gallagher and Son Funeral Home at 2900 Summer Street, Stamford, CT. The family suggests that in lieu of flowers a contribution in Jim's name be made to OPIN - Outreach to Pets in Need, Stamford (opinpets.org) or Audobon Greenwich (http://Greenwich.Audubon.org). Condolences may be offered at www.leopgallagherstamford.com
Published in StamfordAdvocate on July 27, 2014