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James William Lounsbury

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BENNINGTON -- James W. “Jim” Lounsbury, 90, of North Pownal, died peacefully early Sunday morning, Dec. 4, 2005, at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington.

He was born in Springfield, Mass., on July 24, 1915 the son of William L. Lounsbury and Rose M. (McLaughlin) Lounsbury. After leaving Springfield, Jim’s family moved to Mill River, Mass. and later onto Pittsfield, Mass. where he attended grammar and high school and went on to graduate from Berkshire Business College.

After completing college, two things affected Jim’s life: The Great Depression and wanderlust. Jim traveled around America, often as a hobo riding the freight trains, drifting in search of adventure and employment, part of which was a job at the Worlds Fair.

On Oct. 22, 1939, Jim married the former Priscilla Howe of Pittsfield, Mass. and had a son, James Wayne Lounsbury, by that marriage. James and Priscilla parted in 1945.

A veteran of World War II, Jim served in the Merchant Marines as senior assistant purser on the Liberty ship, the S.S. James M. Wayne, and was awarded the Merchant Marine Combat Bar and the Middle East War Zone Bar. His journal of combat action of February and March of 1944 at Anzio Beach, Italy, is amazing to read.

After the war Jim worked at the Treadway Inn in Williamstown, Mass., where in 1946 he met Frances Janiszewski of Rutland. They were married the following summer and have a son, William S. Lounsbury, by that marriage.

Frances Lounsbury died of cancer in October of 1978.

Over the years Jim operated several businesses in the Southern Vermont area.

In 1959 he was elected to represent Pownal in the Vermont House of Representatives in Montpelier. He believed one of his greatest accomplishments as a legislator and member of the Ways and Means Committee was the introduction and passage of two bills, one allowing parimutual racing in Vermont and the second allowing Sunday racing in Vermont.

After serving five terms in the legislature, he took a position as doorkeeper to the Vermont House of Representatives where he served for another 10 years. After retiring from politics he spent winters working for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus at their winter quarters in Venice, Fla.

Jim was interested in history. This started at an early age when he learned his grandfather, James McLaughlin had served four years with the 63rd New York Regiment during the Civil War and had met and shaken hands with President Lincoln. Some of Jim’s interests included politics, railroads, the circus, travel and spending time outdoors.

Jim will be missed by his family and friends but he did not want anyone to grieve his passing. One of the last things he said was, “What a great life I’ve had.”

He is survived by two sons, Bill Lounsbury of Pownal and James Wayne Lounsbury and his wife Janice of Marshall, N.C.; his grandson, James Philip Lounsbury and his wife Stephanie of Marshall; and his great-granddaughter, Brenna Lounsbury.

Funeral services for Mr. Lounsbury will be held Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m. at the Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, 213 West Main St., Bennington.

At the request of the family, interment will be private. The family will receive friends on Wednesday December 7, 2005 at 1 p.m., one hour prior to the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions in Jim’s memory may be made to the Vermont Veteran’s Home Activities Fund c/o Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, P.O. Box 957, Bennington, VT 05201.

For directions or to send e-mail condolences, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.

Arrangements are under the care of Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home 213 West Main St., Bennington.
Published in Bennington Banner on Dec. 5, 2005
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