James Gorman Jacquette had a presence that asked for attention. Like a lighthouse, he was like a beacon of light scanning over the open waters, commanding your glance upon its calming brightness. He embodied the power to provide guidance. His guidance came with a sense of responsibility, care, and with a sense of humor all his own. James was born to the late Leon A. Jacquette and Frances M. Jacquette (McQuade) on May 3, 1940 in New York City. His late brother F. Lee Jacquette was excited to gain a brother and became devout to the idea of showing Jim who was boss. Manhasset, New York became home to many pleasant memories he held dear. He had a deep love of his Irish heritage, but he definitely favored the French side. He loved to wear his beret and pretend to speak French. Many childhood memories were filled with his brother alongside many beloved cousins, Dr. Germaine Jacquette, Arlene Jacquette, Yvonne Burckhardt (Jacquette), Bob Jacquette, and the "imposter" Jim H. Jacquette. Many get togethers from the time of childhood until very recently have held cherished memories that he will carry with him. His love of the Spanish language stemmed from his family living in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a year when General Motors promoted his father. He would speak of Argentina and the Black Scottie dog he had and loved so much, but could never remember the dog's name.
He was a "bookworm" during his St. Mary's High School days according to my Mom, his late wife, Carole A. Jacquette (Reder). Mom always joked he was always in the library studying books, and she was always in the gymnasium studying the basketball players. They never imagined what the future would hold. They both graduated from St. Mary's and went onto college. Dad attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he studied Economics and Political History. He even dabbled in....zoology. He graduated Cornell with a B.A., and felt it important to enlist in the U. S. Army. He was extremely proud to have served his country, flatfeet and all. When he came home from Germany, and was honorably discharged with a Medal of Good Conduct, he went back home to Manhasset.
He would go to pick up his father from the train station and every day he would see Carole Reder. Simple pleasantries turned to friendship and soon love. They married and lived in Port Washington, NY in a cute little apartment with a sunny porch. Dad's urgent sense of taking care of family kicked in, and he decided to pursue the business skills he cultivated in the Army. He got a job as a Program Manager in the finance industry of IBM. This job moved them to English Town, New Jersey. Still wanting to grow his skills, he went to the NYU Stern School of Business. Finally, he landed a role at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City working directly for David Rockefeller. After I had visited Kykuit (Rockefeller) Estate Museum, he would go on to tell me that he visited Kykuit and had dinner in the grand dining room after playing the golf course with the Rockefellers on a regular basis. Mind Blown. Chase brought James and Carole to Briarcliff Manor where they resided for 27 years. They had now created a life and home and very much wanted a child. They adopted me, Alice Rivera (Jacquette). I was the apple of his eye and he was moon to my stars. We would race down that driveway in Briarcliff every weekend for mail. He taught me how to ride a bike at Chilmark Park. We spent every Christmas in the city seeing a Broadway show and eating dinner at his favorite NYC restaurant, Sardi's. He instilled the importance of kindness and determination. He spoiled me in all the right ways and taught me you have to earn things. Things aren't just given to you, nor should they be. He taught me to take pride in myself. He taught me how to whistle with a piece of grass. He also made sure to teach me that the most important meal of the day was dessert. Peanut Butter everything and little vanilla ice cream makes any treat better.
He had kind eyes. He had a trustworthy soul. People trusted James with their money. He was a sensible financial advisor, who wasn't in it just for the buck. He sincerely wanted to help people create stable and safe financial futures for their families. He would go on to have many clients over the years and they became dear friends. He went on to work as a Financial Advisor for Dean Witter. Next, he was the First Vice President of Investments at Morgan Stanley. Many company name changes later, he finished his career and First Vice President of Investment and Assistant Branch Manager with Wachovia Securities. Retiring in 2006, James and Carole celebrated with a trip to their favorite spot in Bermuda. My parents then said their goodbyes to Briarcliff Manor and moved Westerly , Rhode Island. Their love of the tiny state stemmed from many summers taking me to sailing camp in Pt. Judith, and their visits to see me at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. They bought a lovely home overlooking the Weekapaug Golf Club and the ocean. Mind you, not right on the ocean, as the potential flooding hazard does not make it a wise financial decision.
He looked forward to retirement with Carole. Unfortunately he lost his beloved wife in 2007 vey suddenly. But like the lighthouse on the ocean shores, he could not let the light go out. His beacon of light shined on and he enjoyed life.
He joined many clubs like the Westerly Silver Sneakers. He became treasurer at the Rhode Island Republican Party and was on the board of trustees at Washington Trust Bank. He travelled to Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Bermuda, Canada, and many other places. He played golf regularly at Weekapaug Golf Club. My favorite memory was his love for sitting on the porch in the morning, talking and just enjoying each other's company over a hot cup of coffee, and with half of grapefruit with a honey drizzle. He loved a good game of Scrabble and played a mean game of Monopoly. He did the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle every week for as long as I can remember. He made many new friends over the years while in Westerly, RI. He found a lot of joy and comfort with these friends, especially his beloved companion, Donna Sanfacon.
Family was very important to him. He grew to adore his son-in- law Uriel Rivera. He revered him as being the son he never had. Jim loved the way Uriel took care of his family. He often said he loved the beautiful balance we had as a family. He was so many things to so many people. A son, a devoted husband, loving father, loyal friend, business partner, leader, golf buddy, and overall a beloved man. When Masonicare in Mystic CT became his new home, he quickly became involved in new committees and clubs. He often spoke of being the new pool champion, and his excitement over becoming part of the welcoming committee. The role he played as Grampie Jim to his ever so adoring grandson Hunter Knight Rivera, by far was the highlight in his life. He always made Hunter the most important one in the room. He was so interested and intrigued by getting to know who Hunter was. He adored his "favorite" grandson. Every visit with Hunter would include a visit to the pool at Masonicare. We made so many new beautiful memories during his time in Mystic. Strolls to Mystic Village, the Mystic Seaport, the Mystic Aquarium, and our beloved family time spent on the beautiful grounds of Ender's Island. So many wonderful times and memories shared with family and friends; however, he had but one regret in this lifetime. James was disappointed his reflexes didn't match his quick intelligence. This meant making an appearance on Jeopardy impossible. He knew it was all about that darn buzzer.
James G. Jacquette lived a full and blessed life for 80 years until his last breath on January 19, 2021. He went peacefully with me by his side. As a kid, I would pretend to be your teacher, and I would never let you graduate from preschool. I think clearly you made it to the highest level of everything in this life. Have a blast swimming every day and golfing in the sun. Garden to your heart's content and get that hummingbird feeder set up. Say hi to Mom and Uncle Lee for us. You are loved beyond measure and your smile will forever shine in our memories of you. You will always remain our beacon of light....and that's the name of that tune.
Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main St., Westerly, RI will be assisting the family during this time.
All services will be private.
For online condolences, please visit www.buckler-johnston.com