James B. Vreeland
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1932-2012 LENOX James Burton Vreeland (Jim to all that knew him), of 26 Nielsen Lane, Lenox, died peacefully at age 80 on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center following years of decline from Parkinson's disease.
Jim was born May 14, 1932 in Totowa Borough, N.J., son of Cornelius D. Vreeland, Jr. and Jane Hayter Vreeland who died before Jim's first birthday, and was lovingly raised by his father and second mother Constance Newell Vreeland. His early years were spent in New Jersey before moving to Middlefield, Mass., and graduating valedictorian from Chester HS in 1949. Graduating cum laude from the University of Mass. electrical engineering program in 1953 and subsequently from the Bell Labs 3-year Communications Development Training Program, Jim worked his first six years at the Bell Labs Whippany NJ facility, then a year at American Bosch in Westfield, Mass., before joining GE in Pittsfield. At GE, he was a system design engineering group leader for a major navy strategic deterrent program, and later a group leader for a software verification unit, before retiring in 1989.
Jim loved the outdoors and scouting, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. With the family, some of his many loves were performing magic tricks, family picnics, square dancing, and canoeing and camping at Tolland State Forest. The consummate engineer, Jim designed many mechanical and electrical systems in the home, in some cases controls that were to become common commercially only years later. He was renowned for building tall swings for his children and grandchildren, and loved to work with wood. Beyond that, Jim was a wonderful teacher and loved to pass his learning on, both within and outside the family.
Raised in the Congregational faith but converting later in midlife, Jim became a devout Catholic. He was a communicant of St. Ann's Church in Lenox and supported the church in several capacities, including catechist and as St. Ann's representative to the Deanery program.
Jim is survived by his wife of 59 years, Pauline Valerie Kulpinski Vreeland, children Richard J. Vreeland and wife Grace of Litchfield, N.H.; Carol J. Burns and husband Ray of Tucson, Ariz.; Mary Ann Vreeland of South Portland, Maine; Sandra Lee Morley and husband Francis of Lenox; brother Chuck Vreeland of Middlefield, Mass.; grandchildren Sarah, Hannah and Alyssa Morley, Julia Fisher, Kathryn Vreeland, Benjamin Vreeland and wife Jessica, and Joshua Brown, as well as great-grandchildren Lydia, Nathaniel and Phoebe Vreeland.
He is predeceased by his daughter Jean Marie Vreeland and grandson Jonathan Brown.
FUNERAL NOTICE: The funeral of Mr. James B. Vreeland of Lenox will be Friday morning at 9 a.m. from the ROCHE FUNERAL HOME followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in St. Ann's Church with the Rev. Christopher J. Waitekus, Pastor. Burial will follow in St. Ann's Cemetery. Calling hours at the funeral home are Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m.
The family wishes to deeply thank all the staff at the Linwood unit of Kimball Farms for their care of Jim during his time there, and also deeply thank the staff of HospiceCare in the Berkshires for their support in the last months of Jim's life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jim's memory to St. Ann's Church, 134 Main St., Lenox, MA 01240.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Dec. 12, 2012