James Walter Fried (1947 - 2012)

  • "Jim was one of my best childhood friends, even though he..."
    - Jenny Bourbeau
  • "I had the fortune of being his next door neighbor for his..."
    - J Edberg
  • "Although I had known Walter since he was a toddler, I just..."
    - Carolyn Seibold
  • "My first memories of Uncle Jim are of his extensive Donald..."
    - Lucas Hundley
  • "El Rojo bought a horse from an old sidekick, a Comanchero,..."

CLEVELAND, OHIO - James Walter Fried, 65, of Northampton, Mass., passed away peacefully in Cleveland on Dec. 22, 2012.

Jim was born Nov. 16, 1947, in Cleveland, to Howard James Fried from Canton and Lola Lee Jolly from Fletcher, Okla. He lived part of his childhood in Ohio and part in Oklahoma.

He graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1965 and from Oberlin College with a major in history. During college Jim made several trips to Mexico, a country for which he had a strong affinity, and he developed a strong interest in Mexican history.

After Oberlin, Jim moved to Northampton where he worked as a compassionate caregiver for people with special needs, until a few years ago when he returned to Cleveland to care for his aging aunt, Lillian Brinnon.

Jim is survived by sister Leslie Therese Chance; nieces, Sarah Fischer and Elspeth Chance; nephews, Lance and William Chance; three great-nieces; and two great-nephews; and his beloved kitty Squirt, who has found a new home.

Jim was one the grandest characters you could ever hope to know in life, especially if you were one of the many children to whom he was an honorary uncle. He was truly larger than life. "El Rojo", for his flaming red hair, would always know more about various histories than almost anyone (Viva Zapata!). He had memorized more movie dialogue than anyone (especially The Duke's), was an expert level chess champ, and was also an expert about the space program, with incredible stories to tell, laughs to elicit and political arguments to lead. He was a dedicated proponent of civil liberties with a heart of gold for the less fortunate.

His teaching challenged many a Northampton High School student's mind, as well as the minds of his large and diverse circle of friends and those of his many adopted nieces and nephews. The children will also remember him for the amount of love he showered on them and his genuine interest in their lives even after they were grown. Jim marched to the beat of his own drum and gave others the courage to do the same. He is already deeply missed.

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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Feb. 14, 2013