David Philip St. James
1948 - 2014 PITTSFIELD David Philip St. James of Melbourne Road died at Berkshire Medical Center on July 10, 2014, after a short illness. He was surrounded in love by his family. Dave was born on Dec. 24, 1948, to Sophie Tymczuk St. James and the late Raymond St. James. He graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1966, attended Berkshire Community College, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1974. He was employed for many years as a wildlife biologist with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, retiring in 2000. He married longtime friend, Lucy Norris (Ketchum) St. James, on May 26, 2007, at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox, a place that was dear to his heart. Dave and Lucy loved camping and hiking, and had visited nearly all of the 50 states, in 2006, driving to Alaska where they camped in a tent and gloried in the mountains and wildlife they observed. As a very young child, Dave was mentored by two acquaintances in his neighborhood, Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Keith, and he always credited them for encouraging his early interest in birds. Also in his earlier years, he was an active member of the Junior Naturalist Club at the Berkshire Museum, where he met Thom Smith, a lifelong friend and mentor. He volunteered there in many capacities over the years, most recently re-cataloging their extensive bird collection. He was a member for over 30 years, and past president and board member of the Hoffmann Bird Club to which he was awarded a lifetime membership in May of 2014. For many years, Dave gave talks and led walks on many outdoor topics, in particular, wild edible plants, beaver pond ecology, bog ecology, and birds and wildflowers - for the museum, for the Berkshire Audubon Sanctuaries, for the Trustees of Reservations and for the Appalachian Mountain Club. In the 80s, he was an instructor for National Wildlife Federation Summer Summits at Silver Bay, N.Y. He was also an authority on Berkshire County History. In September of 2012, Dave completed and published an online version of the Annotated List of the Birds of Berkshire County, an endeavor of which he was extremely proud. He mentored many peers and young naturalists and was a patient and extremely knowledgeable teacher. He was an accomplished guitarist and loved music, especially authentic folk music and the blues. He was a consummate story teller. His eyes would twinkle when a new story was on its way to the telling, and his sense of humor helped diffuse many a potentially difficult situation. He was also a great fan of the Boston Red Sox. He is survived by his mother Sophie; his wife Lucy; his daughter and son-in-law, Nell Ketchum and Aaron Rocha, and his beloved baby grandson, Otis Hunter Seth Rocha, whose face lit up whenever he caught sight of "Grumpa." Other survivors include his aunt, Eugenia Tymczuk; cousins, Peter and Stephen Nykorchuk, and Allen Tymczuk, all of Pitsfield, cousin Lois Maciejewski of Fairfield, Conn., and his god-daughter, Laura Smith Gross. He was predeceased by his father, Raymond St. James and his brother, Dennis St. James. The Cute Little Blond Kid, aka the Gypsy, Cap'n Spatula, Chef Dave, Grumpa and aspiring Curmudgeon David St. James, brilliant naturalist, authority on birds, wild edibles, wildflowers and the woods, bogs and backroads of Berkshire County will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Fly high, Dave, and stay happy. FUNERAL NOTICE: Calling hours for Mr. David P. St. James will be Thursday, July 17, 2014, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the DWYER FUNERAL HOME. In lieu of flowers, donations in David's memory may be made to Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, care of the Dwyer Funeral Home, 776 North St., Pittsfield MA 01210. A memorial service for Mr. David St. James will be held at a later date. Please visit www.dwyerfuneral.com to leave condolences and remembrances.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on July 16, 2014
Dwyer Funeral Home
776 North Street Pittsfield, MA 01201