James E. "Big Jim" Roberts Sr.
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Of Brockton suddenly January 21, 2005. Devoted son of Emily Preble of Brockton. Father of James Jr. and Kim Roberts both of AZ. Brother of Joann Young-Haddad of Dorchester, Jean McKenzie of Fall River and the late Wayne Roberts. Lifelong friend of Timothy Moore of Somerville. Also survived by 6 grandchildren, many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends invited to attend a Funeral Service in the George L. Doherty Funeral Home, 855 Broadway (Powder House Sq.) SOMERVILLE Tuesday evening at 6:00. Calling hours Tuesday 2-6. Interment private. Active employee of M.I.T. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Jim's memory to the M.I.T. Scholarhsip Fund, Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge MA.

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Published in Boston Globe on Jan. 24, 2005.
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112 entries
September 23, 2016
Hey Big Jimmy,

Miss you, wish I could hear one of your stories. You made MIT a home.
February 12, 2015
kim roberts
August 14, 2014
my family
Hey grandpa its Corey I miss you and I wished you could have met my beautiful wife Chelsie and daughter Nevaeh Annabella they are wonderful and you would have loved them. Nevaeh has blonde hair and hazel brown/green eyes and is so funny! I love you and miss you!
Corey Astrofsky
June 15, 2013
Tomorrow is fathers day.. and I read a poem yesterday.. It said that even though your loved one flies to heaven the love and the hurt of losing them never goes away. Ive always loved you and in my heart you will my angel to watch over me. yes the hurt will go. and Carrie underwood says.. I will see you again.. so.. yes dad I will see you again. I love you Happy Fathers Day.
May 9, 2013
Sad news.. But I know you already know.. Timmy died Feb 8th. He had cancer. He died in his sleep. It was best that way. Now i know you and Timmy and Heather are up there having a ball. Your great grand daughter was born on april 5. Her name is Nevaeh astrofsky. she has your black hair. and i bet your temper. her mom says she has a temper. Melissa graduates in Dec. and starts college in april. she is going into Forensics. Cait is going to be 17 in sept.. I remember you used to tell me .. where does the time go. Dad they are all grown up. Chris is going back to school is Sept. 1 semester and then off to get his bach. Cait is gonna come with us so her astma will dry out. so she can go in the navy. she said it will make her papa proud. Love ya ..
April 26, 2013
My husband and I graduated from MIT in the mid-90s, and we STILL remember Big Jimmy with gratitude and affection.

We miss Jimmy.

The giant ring of keys jingling as he huffed up the stairs... his contagious laughter... the random gossip, and the insightful observations...

Jimmy had this way of wiping the sweat off his forehead with a goofy smile, all the while observing with piercing eyes, from behind the back of his hand, what a student was REALLY up to. He was offering advice without seeming to, yet always getting to the heart of the problem. Oh, and the brisket! Holy smokes, the brisket! He gifted Carlos (my hubby, then-boyfriend) with this GIANT brisket, and told us stories of the meat-packing plant, and emphasized that we should only eat meat where we can see the actual grain of the meat (muscle), and avoid sausage or processed meat ("Hoo, boy, do you REALLY want me to tell you what they put in it?"). Good advice, BTW. Because we were poor college students, and new to cooking for ourselves, we confessed that we didn't know what to do with he brisket, so Jimmy brought a bunch of spices and rub and showed us how to cook it in the oven. It was delicious. (OK, for poor students like us, it was heavenly. Move over, late-night Domino's pizza delivery.)

When we returned, five years after graduating, he called us by name, shook our hands, and took us on a dorm tour while letting us in on the latest news. I reported, proudly, that I was recruiting for my company in the next day's career fair, and you should have seen the smile that blossomed on his face! Right away, he asked me for several business cards, to pass to students that he knew were looking for jobs. Forget the career fair; THAT's when I felt like I had arrived, I made it, I am in a position to help others! Jimmy offered that kind of validation.

Oh, and in the early 90s, he also offered to open the EC lounge one night for my mom and younger brother, when he found them sleeping on reclined seats in their car, parked outside EC. (They had been visiting me, took me to LSC for the late movie, and were too tired to get driving back to NH for 2 hrs. So they napped in the car, Jimmy found them on his rounds, and insisted they move to the EC lounge, for safety.)

For some strange reason, officer Collier's passing reminded me of Jimmy. They seemed birds of a feather, even though they had never met. Jimmy was kind to us at a critical time in our young lives, and made the brutal stress of MIT a little easier to survive. Jimmy lives on, in our hearts, and we are now telling our kids about him. I suppose, the way he had "soul" kids in the the MIT students, he how has "soul" grand kids, and his story gets told one more time.
August 31, 2012
Its been awhile since I wrote but lately I have been thinking of you. Have big news for you. But you already know. Corey got married and now you are going to be a great grandfather. He wishes that you were here. So that he could introduce you to his new little one in April. Guess what.. she is due around my birthday. I might get my wish that she will share my birthday with me and make it a double birthday like lissa and Corey. Cait got her braces already. she got them in the color of heart disease in memoruim of you. she said that if she can make one gesture.. it would be to make a tribute to you. Next time they change it.. its going to be the color of Cancer.. cause she is going to do the walk for cancer. Love ya
Kim Roberts
June 20, 2011
Happy Fathers Day, Dad. Its been a long 6 years with out you. Kids have grown into young adults. You would barely know them by now. Corey is working two jobs and going to school to be a fire fighter, Chris is working and going to school for a double major in computer programing and IT. Melissa is entering her softmore in highschool and starts freshman in college this year also in criminal justice dad.. you would be so proud of her. she is going to be a Foreseic person who investigates crime scences. and Cait is joining the Navy at 17. She said she wants youto be proud of her from heaven. I miss you.. Just wanted to give you a shout out.. OH the bruins finally did it after 39 nine years.!! we won the stanley cup!! not at long as the SOX but we did it.. Love you dad..
Kim Roberts
February 18, 2011
I didn't know the man and only stumbled across this tribute to him, but it moved me and I feel compelled to comment. The love for this man is something to be respected and desired. Here seems to be a person who some might consider to hold a modest position in life, yet from what I'm reading he was often a source of strength and support for countless students, many of whom no doubt went off to be highly successful people. I call that admirable and selfless. I also hope that those students he helped in big and small ways appreciate that (I can see many do) and pass on that good will, which he seems to have held in spades, to the those they find in need. If only the world could have more Big Jim's we'd be living in a better world.
Don Oates
January 21, 2011
6years gone i remember that day like yesterday i miss ur laugh i miss ur smile i miss wishing u would shut up lol i will always miss u big brother i send u a :-) because i kno u r in Gods hand and hanging out with wayney
jean preble mckenzie
December 18, 2010
we continue to miss you especially during the holiday season it will be six years love is always in our hearts even thou you have been called to heaven your memory will always be with us
jean Preble Mckenzie
August 9, 2009
ur are the best grandfather ever and i know u never saw me but u did when i was 5 that was the last time i saw u
caitlyn astrofsky
March 29, 2009
I don't know Mr. Roberts in the slightest, I learned of his passing through my background research into one his many charges, which by all accounts he helped beyond his own comprehension. He was not obligated in any way to be there for the many who couldn't sleep until they had the answer. An answer Jimmy couldn't help with, beyond just being there. My interest in my original objective has dissipated due to learning of the existence of Jimmy and the role he played in their survival through the wee hours. Realistically, how many would have given up without his presence, personality and giving spirit.

In parting, I can only say that some of the most intelligent individuals of our time are only that because of him(Big Jimmy)
Paul Mead
August 31, 2008
Jimmy was one of my closest friends and supports. The older I get the more I realize what a rare person he was. What strange circumstances led someone so caring and protective to end up as a surrogate parent to so many kids? I've been reflecting recently on those I've loved who have passed away and it saddens me greatly that I won't get to share the rest of my life with Big Jimmy.
David LaMacchia
January 28, 2008
The path here was long and twisty. I seem to recall hacker and spacewar wiki articles. Then there something about a mis-placed cannon followed by a calendar. Then, as fate would have it, at the end of the path was a story about a most remarkable man by all accounts: Mr. James E. "Big Jimmy" Roberts, Sr.. Although we never met, I am moved by his friends and hope they will keep his memory alive for eons to come. Anon.
January 25, 2008
just thinking about big jimmy again randomly. still miss him. i reread amittai's description of him coming onto the hall with a jangling bag of recycling, and it seems hard to believe that he's not still there to do that.
dan mcanulty
January 3, 2008
Joseph Roberts
October 9, 2007
this man was my grandfather that i really didnt know but when i used to see him, it was fun when he was around,

love your grandson

corey justin astrofsky
corey astrofsky
November 16, 2006
Big Jimmy has always been one of my favorite person at MIT. When I was still an undergraduate there, he is very helpful in making my life adjustment from Indonesia to MIT stress-free.
Roy Handojo
May 8, 2006
Thank you for taking care of my sisters, Jimmy!!! You truly were a special person, and you cared for the students as your own. You really made a difference in so many lives.
April 7, 2006
Dear Jimmy,
Thanks for your advice on everything from school to my sister to love and for encouraging me and the Big Chicken! I'll miss you and try to keep an eye on him for you. Remember when Cat won the Gong Show serenading you? Remeber the photo of us before mudrestling? The computer bash? Thanks for the Jimmy food, even though I don't like chili.
Diana Buttz '98
February 20, 2006
Like most, I mostly remember Jimmy while I was up all night studying. After my brain had turned to swiss cheese, I'd hear the door slam, and the familiar wheezing as he approached. I looked forward to taking a break and talking with a genuinely nice and kind person that knew you by name. He'd make you laugh when you needed it the most.
The world is a little less bright now that he is gone.
Len Giambrone
November 5, 2005
jimmy, you are still missed. you were, as you hoped to be, the parent that so many of us were missing: the unconditional love that so many of us were seeking. we will never forget that, jimmy. thank you for giving everything that you had to us, all the time. you inspired us to be as kind
Jimmy Kind KInd
October 10, 2005
Dear Jimmy,

Thank you for the laughs and the stories. You were truly a caring human being and friend during my four years at MIT. Your presence and cheer will always be missed.

~ Denizen of EC 1996-2000
Priscilla "illa" Fonseca
August 4, 2005
jimmy, you are still missed. you were, as you hoped to be, the parent that so many of us were missing: the unconditional love that so many of us were seeking. we will never forget that, jimmy. thank you for giving everything that you had to us, all the time. you inspired us to be as kind as you, and to do the same for everyone we meet. you have truly left your print on this world. i hope you see that up there.

here's to you jimmy.
judit pungor
May 28, 2005
Well, Big Jimmy, I'm finally signing your guest book. Your Ripple Effect of kindness is still going, and going, and going - on the Internet, for one, and into Eternity, for another. There is no end to the good you brought to us. MIT just wouldn't have been the same without you, and thanks again for taking care of my "feathered fish" for me way back when! You are the best!!!
Eri Izawa
May 25, 2005
No matter how much of a doofus I had been, you were always there with a helping hand, a kind word, sound advice, some good food, a hearty laugh and a joke, or that extra key to my room that I always seemed to need. You have touched many lives, Big Jimmy. You will never be forgotten.
Amanda Lloyd
March 27, 2005
I don't know that I can add much to all that has already been said...but Jimmy was always there, you know, and he wouldn't let you leave the building without a hello and some ridiculous bit of Jimmy gossip that would leave you giggling the rest of the day. And then when you came home all salty and tired, you could swap sob stories with him and well, put your problem sets into some perspective. His life wasn't easy, and how that man could smile (and give!) so much I'll never know, but the mystery might motivate the rest of us trying to emulate him. He was a phenomenon whom no one who ever met him will ever forget.
Kelly Clancy
March 3, 2005
I was a denizen of Third East from 1989-1993. Jimmy was always coming by, saying hi, and leaving treats. Sometimes it was a box of cookies, or some frozen pizza. I was often broke as an undergrad, and sometimes Jimmy's little snacks were the difference between having something to eat or going to bed hungry. You always felt that someone was looking out for you when he was around. He probably drove the administration nuts - anyone who would 'overlook' 4 inches of water in Wolcott would not be a dorm manager's best friend. But sometimes he seemed like the only employee of MIT who gave a damn about the undergrad population, the only one who cared if we survived or not. His loss is irreplacable.
Bridget Smyser
March 1, 2005
Big Jimmy is one of the first people that pop into my mind whenever I remember my time at MIT. It's hard to imagine how any other three people are going to be able to fill his many roles at East Campus and Senior House... who else will have the humor, the discretion, and the wisdom? When most non-residents would run away in shock or embarassment from the goings-on in East Campus or Senior House, Big Jimmy was always unfazed (well, barely fazed). Who else will have the life experience that let Jimmy take east-side life in stride?

Most of all, who on this earth is going to provide the security that Jimmy did? I had the privilege once of watching Big Jimmy in action, late one night when a (relatively) big guy from off-campus had broken into East Campus. I'd never seen Jimmy move that fast... he came out of nowhere, put one hand on the back of the man's neck, and left with his parcel as quickly as he had arrived. It was all over in seconds, and it was an awesome sight.

Big Jimmy, you are loved and dearly missed. Thanks for everything.

-Janis Stipins, '98
Janis Stipins
February 26, 2005
"Jimm-E"---w/ a big E,

is what always flashed on my mind after

I would walk through the main doorways of the big E (campus) on my way to check the mail, check the "desk" (aka, the gals behind it), do the laundry, or go down to game room.

It was an entry, followed by a sharply, shivering deafening cacophonous crash of the half-grey, half-metal, half-wooden, half-broken front doors.....

through which I would sometimes look up and be graced by Jimm-E's, big E-asy presence...whether sitting in the back o' the office or standing in the lobby chatting it up with others from the -->E.

He was "Jimm-E" to me...perhaps because of all the times he opened the doors for me.

"those damn doors!"

so many times after the "last-call" Pritchett run, I'd be left standing there with corrugated cardboard tray+milk shake+bag of cheeseburger and fries in both hands ....keyless!

But, Jimm-E would soon come around instinctively from the inside, his key chain dangling along his belt, and pry those gates open...

....so many times, the instant recognition and a crooked E-asy, smile and eyes squinting and beaming...as if he completely understood and was E-qually "there with you", never any judgment, but always a smile and a wise comment about something else...

It seemed things were so hurried at MIT, or may be I was, but every time I bumped into Jimm-E, I'd stop to chat it up b/c of the big E-ase that only he as nightwatchman could grace…

And, of course, how can I forget the night over X-mas break when our 1st West pi E stickmen floor was being invaded by a thief, who was incredibly persistent on coming through our kitchen or lounge windows….Sure, we called campus police…and we waited…and waited..…but it was Jimm-E to the rescue…going after the fella…where later I learned he actually nabbed the guy and gave him to the police…honorable, but of course, that's Jimm-E.

Then, it was our annual rolling Octagon party where we'd rattle and hummer our parallel from top floor to bottom, with what felt of a Richter magnitude of ~4-5, and despite the punch-drunkenness in our mural-filled, darkened corridors Jimm-E would be there to make sure it was all ok, one time rolling the octagon himself and receiving a boisterously loud toast & cheer!

And, I think, he was there on the ground in 1991 during our midnight pumpkin drop off the Greens…where he made sure it was not a student that became the pie pan, which I so graciously missed from atop ~17 stories, in my violation of Newton's laws, with a drop turned into a trajectory, from a single sleight-o'-hand motion.

There's a lot to be grateful about Jimm-E, much more than can be imparted in words. It seems the E in Jimm-E was as inseparable as he was to the -->E (EC and Sr. Haus) at MIT.

Thank ya for making it so fun and real and being a most magnanimous part of the big-E!
Newt Agrawal, EE'92
February 25, 2005
I was lucky enough to experience some of my formative years in Senior House in the late 80s. "Jimmy the Night Watchman" was witness to quite a few of my late night antics (their description must be skipped over as it wouldn't pass the appropriate content review.) He never judged me, he just laughed his big laugh with a great big blush on his face (and talked about it for years afterward). Thanks, Jimmy.
Stephanie Cook Goldstein
February 23, 2005
Big Jimmy was a heck of a guy. I'm sad for the future residents of East Campus that will never know him, and never know what a treasure they've missed. My condolences to his family.
Daniel Risacher
February 23, 2005
I graduated from MIT in 1993 after spending 4 great years living on 5West, East Capmus. The many sleepless nights of chemical engineering problem solving were made so much better by the regular visits from Big Jimmy. Jimmy used to call the solution attempts we had on the hall lounge markerboards 'very intelligent looking chicken-scratch', but he made a point to ask the next time he got to the hall if we had that last one all solved.

Jimmy will be missed.
Leah Abraham
February 14, 2005
I graduated in 1992 and lived in 4th west in east campus during my time at MIT. This is truly sad news. I remember there was an occasion when Big Jimmy was going to be transferred to I believe it was Next House (Agast!). I remember our panic and sorrow of having a buddy in the ranks being taken away from our dorm ;). Somehow our letters convinced the administration to keep him where he was.
I remebered him as a down to earth guy who knew what was important and what was not... I often think back of the great and truly wacky experience MIT was. Much of which was thanks to my living environment. I am so thankful for Jimmy so many times not making a big deal of our growing up adventures. These are the experiences in life that define who we are. East Campus and in no small part Jimmy has contributed in developing future adults with a more broad accepting view of their fellow human beings. He will be a sad void in the future generations through East Campus and Senior House.
Carlos Caceres
February 13, 2005
This is for my Uncle Jimmy he would of been so proud to know that he had this many people who cared and loved him. He was devoted to his job. He loved what he did even even when he was sick he went to work, it made him happy. I just want to thank all of the students at MIT for the support they have given to our family.
keri mckenzie
February 12, 2005
Jimmy was a constant presence during my 4 years in East Campus. Given the hours that MIT students keep, it seemed he was always there when he was needed most - cracking jokes with students punchy with fatigue, or providing a welcome break and sympathy from late-night tooling. Like everyone else I was impressed by how much he knew and cared for everyone. He knew who was having a bad time and needed help. He knew what the really important problems were and what were just harmless cases of college craziness. Though staying in the Boston area, I haven't been to MIT very often for quite a few years. Nonetheless, when I made an appearance at Steer Roast this year, Jimmy called out to me by name in a crowd. He remembered me and really wanted to know how I was doing and what I'd been up to. I'm glad I had that last chance to see him and remember the big-hearted guy with which we've been blessed for so long. I can't imagine late nights in East Campus ever seeming so warm, safe, and comfortable without him.
Andrew Twyman
February 11, 2005
i haven't gone by "jessie" since i was a little girl, but jimmy automatically called me that. remarkably, i didn't care. he was the only person who could do that and not make me angry.
all i know is, he kept me out of trouble. he played a crucial role in my education. somehow he just let me be, knowing i would make it through. so many nights since i left MIT i have imagined jimmy walking the halls. rest in peace, big jimmy. i only hope he knew how much he was loved.
Jessica Harvey
February 11, 2005
So sad to learn of Big Jimmy's passing away, for he was a great guy and a reassuring presence at East Campus. His family should be so proud of him. - Terence (3W)
Terence Gan
February 11, 2005
I met Jimmy the first time in 1988. I was a freshman and I was making my way home for my grandmother's funeral. As I crossed the Senior House courtyard and made my way to the front desk, Jimmy saw me. We talked for a while and he called a cab for me to get me to South Station. He was one of the few people I remember from MIT who genuinely cared.

Bless you Jimmy, for I feel blessed for knowing you.
Dan Robinson
February 11, 2005
Big Jimmy. I wonder if you know that you were my favorite person at MIT. The first year at MIT is tough for everyone and mine was no exception. Freshmen year, I lived in 4th east of East Campus and that's really how we met. When I had to stay up late at night for problem sets, I always ran into Jimmy in the hall way and he would always stop by to chat. His words, his smile, and his round huge figure cheered me up. It made me realized that I wasn't up all night alone; Jimmy was with me. Sophomore year, I moved out of East Campus to New House, so I did not get to see Jimmy often any more. From time to time I still ran into him when he hanged out with his nightwatch friends early in the morning near Burton Conner. What impresses me the most is the fact that he still remembered me after all these years. He still remembered that I once used to live in 4th East and was suffering. Jimmy has really touched so many lives and hearts. I remember thinking once that the more caring he was the more I feared that this day would come when his big but fragile body stopped to function. Jimmy had such a big heart and I really wonder if he knew he had such an impact on so many students' lives at MIT. God bless you, Jimmy. Whereever you are, you'll always be missed.
Pew Putthividhya
February 10, 2005
I graduated in 1994 and was reminiscing about Big Jimmy the week before I found out the sad news. For me and countless others he was part of the MIT experience. One of the best ones. He will be remembered fondly not only for the great person he was, but for how he touched so many of us.
Melissa Rivera
February 10, 2005
I am so sad. It seems it has been many lifetimes since I've thought much about my years at East Campus. Jimmy was a fixture for us. He knew when to turn a blind eye to our silliness (lounge pools and water fights) and when to intervene in times of real crisis. It has been 13 years since I've been to EC and I can still hear his voice calling out his usual greeting of "Stoodents!" as though he were surprised to find us there as he came through the stairwell door. The world has lost one of the truly good ones with his passing. My sincere condolences to the Roberts family.
Courtney Moriarta
February 10, 2005
Moving to MIT was a huge change for a country girl, so far from home, not knowing anyone. Then I met Big Jimmy. He was like everyone's favourite uncle. The one who would sit with you and tell you incredible stories... who somehow knew you better than you knew yourself... the one you could talk to about absolutely anything.

He was a fantastic friend, a great listener, and a fabulous storyteller. In an institution bogged down by a stoic administration whose solution to nearly every problem was "re-engineering," Jimmy was what every student needed... someone who truly cared.

I have never met, nor do I think I ever will meet, anyone who has had such a tremendous positive impact on the lives of so many as Big Jimmy had.

He will be sorely missed.
Eva (Palmerton) Farbrother
February 10, 2005
I'm very sorry to hear that Big Jimmy is gone, both for his family and the "kids" at MIT who won't get to know him in the future.

He welcomed everyone, no matter their background, academic success, bad habits, or lack thereof. From the first time you met Jimmy, it seemed like you'd known each other forever, and that you'd always be a part of this grand old community. He was probably the only staff member of MIT who could make us behave, not because we were afraid he'd get us in trouble, but because we were afraid we'd get him in trouble.
Rebecca Leonardson
February 10, 2005
You are missed.
Meredith Knight
February 10, 2005
I remember Jimmy as more of a counselor than an night watchman. When I had been eaten alive and lost my way at MIT, Jimmy always lended a caring ear. He loved to keep a joke running for as long as he knew you and I was am proud to be at the butt of some of his best!
Craig Lebowitz
February 10, 2005
Big Jimmy was an amazing person that looked beyond our quirkiness and intrigues and treated us as his own kids. I am glad that everyone was able to give him such a great tribute because a person like Big Jimmy comes only once in a lifetime.
José Jiménez
February 10, 2005
Thanks for being there Big Jimmy. Thanks for letting our hall be what it was when it was. Thanks for being a part of it. You were the right amount of authority, the right amount of protection from the outside world, and an abundance of heart and caring. You can't step into the same river twice - I'm glad we were there together.
Rob Gruhl
February 10, 2005
It took me a while to put my finger on what made Big Jimmy so special, and I realized that the trouble was only that it's such a rare thing. Just this: he had love in his heart for other people, and he acted from it in his daily life. Many people aspire to this (and many more should), but find it hard in practice. For him it was easy.
Tim Stellmach
February 10, 2005
Thanks Big Jimmy. Hope and laughter were the best meds at 3am. East Campus and Senior House won't be the same without you, but you'll live forever in our memories.
Patty Palmer
February 10, 2005
It was sad to hear about Jimmy's passing but it was very uplifting to see the great out pouring of affection. Just seeing all the pictures and stories instantly transported me back to EC almost 20 years ago. While I can't recall any specific incidents with Jimmy, his presence was such that you cannot think back on him or see his face without smiling. He will be sorely missed.
Joseph Orso
February 10, 2005
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Big Jimmy. I first met him during my orientation of my freshman year back in 1987. For the next 4 years I talked to him atleast once a week if not more. He always used to come by with pizza, sit and chat with us and be a good friend to all. He will be missed!!!
Ilham Ahmed
February 10, 2005
In a place that could become so impersonal and robotic at times, Big Jimmy's friendliness and interminable desire to give always brought a smile to one's face. His dedication helped people garner the strength and will to become better. He reminded us that good and caring people still exist and that our life is purposeful...
Joseángel "J" Guerrero
February 9, 2005
I loved him. He will be a memory of caring to me always.
Taylor Hayward
February 9, 2005
I can't believe Big Jimmy is gone. He made 3AM Ramen in the Runkle 4th kitchen worthwhile, and he'd always tell you to cheer up and make you feel okay about whatever your problem was.

I still remember when he took me down to the meat market in the south side of Boston to pick up the steer legs for Steer Roast. He walked me through the whole process, and made being MasterBaster a do-able and enjoyable task. He even helped me pick out the best strip of steak.

He called me "tiger", and I still remember it well.

Bessie Nesseler, class of 1994, Runkle 3rd.
Bessie Nesseler
February 9, 2005
as soon as i started reading the notice in email about jimmy's passing, in addition to being saddened, i was instantly transported to the late nights, and sometimes early mornings, when sometimes it was only jimmy and i that were up at such hours, talking about life and people...sometimes till sunrise! i think i met jimmy his first year as the night watchman. and how could i forget the large size aquarium that he bequeathed to me?!? jimmy, you were a friend to all.
chris lombardi
February 9, 2005
I'll never forget my first night at East Campus. I was 2000 miles from my home, which I'd never before left; I didn't know anyone; and I didn't really know how to meet anyone, either. In boredom and loneliness I wandered down to the Front Desk late that night, and there I met Big Jimmy. He made me feel welcomed to East Campus and told me about all the different floors, discussed their different personalities, and regaled me with stories. He was probably the main reason I made East Campus my home for the next four long, hard years.

Big Jimmy was never too busy or too tired to share his time and lend an ear. He exhibited some of the greatest generosity of spirit the Institute had.

I'll never forget you and your kindness, Big Jimmy, and I am certain MIT will be poorer without you. May you rest in peace.
Jeri (Champion) Levine
February 9, 2005
Big Jimmy was the person who made sure all our illegal dorm pets were fed and watered over the holidays. He always referred to our fish when he pet the hall cats, and he was always willing to feed and water our "fish" over breaks. I still remember how mortified he was the night he had to question two students necking on the lawn between the two East Campus buildings. He kept repeating, "Well, I had to make sure it was all consensual, and I suggested that maybe they might pick another place, because on my way back I'd have to ask again!" He was one of the people who made MIT a unique place
Vivian (Slater) Votava
February 9, 2005
As a former Steer Roast Masterbaster (May 2003), I am particularly saddened by the passing of the man who, to me, was a big part of the annual tradition. Although some may not know, he was the reason there was steer at the roast. The tradition of Big Jimmy driving the Masterbaster to the City Packers was shared by my predecessors and I hoped that it would continue for years to come. Steer Roast will never be the same, but hopefully his memory will live on.

Thank you Big J, rest easy.
Louis Lopez
February 9, 2005
Dear Big Jimmy,

Thanks for the stories.
Thanks for the laughs.
Thanks for the ice cream. :9
Thanks for the company.

Thank you for listening.

- Sarah

rhapsody at alum dot mit dot edu
Sarah Farrar Lacey
February 9, 2005
Big Jimmy was the person who made sure all our illegal dorm pets were fed and watered over the holidays. He always referred to our fish when he pet the hall cats, and he was always willing to feed and water our "fish" over breaks. I still remember how mortified he was the night he had to question two students necking on the lawn between the two East Campus buildings. He kept repeating, "Well, I had to make sure it was all consensual, and I suggested that maybe they might pick another place, because on my way back I'd have to ask again!"
Vivian (Slater) Votava
February 9, 2005
MIT was busy by day and stressful by night;
Up late, you might catch Jimmy in the light;
Your name as a greeting and an ear to listen ;
Jimmy was a valued part of my 4 year education
Erik Blasch
February 9, 2005
I remember one year after leaving East Campus (after I finished my masters - M.Eng in 6), I was visiting friends back in EC (or Fred), and decided to crash on the couch in one of the lounges. At about 3 am, I remember barely waking up to hear Big Jimmy asking another student who was sleeping on the couch (I guess I looked like a bum at the time, but hey, I had just finished my masters...). After he was told that it was just "Dan", Big Jimmy asked the other student if I was alright or did I need any help. Big Jimmy, we'll miss ya. You knew when you were needed, and you always knew when to look away.
Daniel Zahn
February 9, 2005
So sorry to hear the departure of Big Jimmy. I still remember him walking along the hallway greeting students at 4am.. A true releiver before problem sets were due. He will be missed...
Charatpong Chotigavanich
February 9, 2005
I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of cheers for Big Jimmy. He was one of the rare human beings who actually cared a lot about other people. One summer, he even helped me move from Fenway back to East Campus. He was always there to help other people out. I will miss him a lot.
Anca Mosoiu
February 9, 2005
As long as there are Big Jimmy stories to tell, he will always be with us. Thankfully, he provided us with so many. Any of you 4East Slugs remember our turkey dinner? Yup, Jimmy brought us this massive turkey (nope, wasn't even Thanksgiving time), so we all pitched in some side dishes and had ourselves an amazing feast.

The thing about Jimmy was this, he really loved and enjoyed taking care of us. I'm hoping some of that has rubbed off on all of us. Let's carry Jimmy with us in our hearts and think of him when we offer comfort and cheer to those in need around us.
Simone Missirian
February 9, 2005
I was very sorry to hear of Big Jimmy's death. He was one of those rare people who really cared about people. He was kind, he was funny, and he was there for us. I still remember when they tried to transfer him away from East Campus. At the time that seemed like a tragedy, but we protested in every way we could, and he stayed. If only we could protest this untimely transfer.
Elizabeth Ditchburn
February 9, 2005
Big Jimmy was so awesome. He protected us from the Institute and from ourselves when we needed it. There's not much to say that hasn't already been said. It'll never be the same.
Erin Cline
February 9, 2005
I am so sorry to learn of the passing of Big Jimmy. He was a great big guy with a great big heart. He used to love to refer to me as "blondie," which I loved, and we'd talk all the time as he made his way down 5E every night. He'd always bring us tons of pizza and ice cream...a welcome treat during late night drinking...uh studying. He'd warn us when the CPs were coming because our rooftop makeshift hot-tub was flooding 4E. He looked out for us and made sure our crazy antics never got anybody hurt or in jail. God Bless you, Big Jimmy.
Cynthia Randles
February 9, 2005
Jimmy will be sorely missed by all. Jimmy was a sympathetic ear, a fair person, someone who had a great sense of humor. Although untrained in psychiatric services, he was a great friend and counselor, a better therapist than he would have guessed. As a nightwatchman, faithful and vigilant.
Chris Lee
February 9, 2005
Big Jimmy was a compass to countless students at MIT - I was privileged to know him.
Pascal Chesnais
February 8, 2005
I was incredibly saddened to hear about Big Jimmy's passing. We have lost a man who was truly special, and who was always able to help you feel better during the roughest times. Not only did Jimmy do great things for us as a group (like bring us all those great Mama Celeste pizzas-for-one), he also cared enough to help us all out one by one if we needed it.

Thanks for making a lot of late nights on Third East a lot more fun, Jimmy. We'll all miss you.
Ben Balas
February 7, 2005
I just want to thank all of you for all the kind words you have said about my dad. He loved his job very much and talked about it often. He considered all his students "his kids". I just want to say thank you again from his entire family.

James E Roberts JR
jim roberts jr
February 2, 2005
I would like to say that i am deeply touched by the entries made in my dads guest book. He always talked about his kids. He will be missed very much. he never turned away a person in trouble. He was a talker but always a listener. i will always love my dad. His grandkids miss him very much. I would like to thank all of the kids at MIT for making my dad a happy person
Kim Roberts
January 31, 2005
Al Timinski and I remember Jimmy fondly. When Al first met Jimmy, he thought he was a security guard who talked too much, but he came to realize that this was Jimmy's way of always keeping in touch with the students. Al always welcomed Jimmy's greeting when he would come home to EC after working the night shift on the railroad. Everyone loved to chat with Jimmy, whether crying their woes or sharing their happiness. He was an invaluable asset to EC and will forever remain in the hearts of all those who knew him.
Maryann Smela
January 31, 2005
The passing of "Big Jimmy" touches my heart. As someone who looks forward to one day being an MIT Student & Grad, it is so great to hear of such a wonderful person. The stories of how Jimmy reached out and touched so many lives in such a selfless way endears MIT ever closer to me. Though I did not know Jimmy personally, I can tell that he will leave a Legacy for all at MIT and those yet to come through. To me Jimmy embodies everything that is the soul & spirit of MIT and its community.

I look forward to my upcoming days at MIT, and to hearing the many, many personal accounts of Jimmy's impact on so many lives.

God bless him.
Troy Roach
January 30, 2005
It still hasn't sunk in that Big Jimmy won't be there this year at Steer Roast, sitting on one of the benches outside Senior Haus and catching up with everyone. He was a real friend to so many of us, found space in his heart to genuinely care about so many people, and he was a big part of what made those places be Home. I think he'll be a part of the soul of those communities (in the real sense of that word) for a long time to come.

He was an amazing human being, and I miss him.
Robin Ivester
January 30, 2005
I always remember Big Jimmy walking down the halls of East Campus and talking to everyone. He would always have time to listen to us and cheer us up. Every time I ran into him late at night, there was a big chance we would engage in a long conversation. One night he gave me a complete lesson on modern history. But that night Big Jimmy taught me more than history, he taught me that there's no limit on how big someone's heart can be.
Juan Rodriguez
January 28, 2005
I was a Bakerite that knew Jimmy though my friends at East Campus. Jimmy always teased me good-naturedly about living in the "projects", as Baker House's brick construction was reminiscent of the Cambridge public housing.

Although EC and Senior House were lucky to have Jimmy watching over them most of the time, I know that on occasional assignments to cover Baker in the mid-nineties led him to have "kids" there as well.

Jimmy just shows how one person can touch the lives of so many people. He was surely be missed.

Brian Carlstrom
January 28, 2005
I am deeply saddened by the loss of Big Jimmy - sad because because he has left this Earth and sad because he won't be able to touch more lives. I truely think that Big Jimmy was an angel - he looked over and took care of so many of us. Big Jimmy always made us feel as if someone cared even when we felt most alone. One early morning Jimmy made sure I was taken care of when I couldn't take care of myself.. I had collapsed in the bathroom from food poisoning and he got another female student to check on me and made sure I made it to the med center... but I'm thankful to Jimmy for so much more... the chats, the laughs, the sounds of keys and cans and his foot steps as he climbed the stairs and walked down the hall. Jimmy made me feel safe. I am lucky to have known him... he was a light, a blessing... and I imagine him - with a smirk - looking down on all of us. My sympathies to Jimmy's family and friends...
Donna Augustine
January 28, 2005
i was shocked and saddened by the tragic news . but i know in my heart the love he had shared for his ''kids'' Kim and Jim .. and all the Kids at MIT.
diane roberts
January 28, 2005
When I was first at East Campus and feeling very shy, I wasn't sure what to make of Big Jimmy - surely he couldn't be that open and friendly? But he was - he was one in a million. Jimmy always watched out for us when we needed him, but he was smart enough to realize that kids would be kids, and he turned a blind eye to our schemes if we (probably!) wouldn't hurt ourselves. "I saw nothing!" he would mutter as he walked away grinning from the latest water fight or hack or streaker run! Jimmy, thanks for the pizza, and the laughs, and the friendship to all of us - you will really be missed. Love from Paula (now in Scotland)
Paula Cuccurullo
January 27, 2005
I was deeply saddened when I heard of Big Jimmy's passing. He was one of the most genuinely nice, selfless, and caring human beings one could ever meet--our world will be a much emptier place for losing him.

The kindnesses that Jimmy paid to us students were priceless. I hope he knew how much they meant to us. I remember the huge vats of yummy chili that he would bring in periodically. As a poor college student, there were times that I would have gone hungry if not for the tupperwares full of Jimmy's chili that I had squirreled away and frozen. Like Othon said in another entry, Jimmy didn't think twice about lending us his truck to drive to IHOP in the wee hours of the morning. There was even one time when I got stranded in Rhode Island alone in the middle of the night without any money or means of getting home, and if Jimmy had not lent my friend his truck to come pick me up, who knows what would have happened to me?

To Jim's family, you have my sincerest condolences. Jimmy was dearly loved by "his students" and he will be greatly missed.
Amanda Hernandez
January 27, 2005
As a visitor and a outsider to the MIT community, one of the things that I found most appealing about it was Big Jimmy. Coming from a more traditional campus, there may have been night watchmen, but no one like him.
I was also impressed with the genuine respect and affection that the students felt for him and he for them.
Even though I wasn't one of his students, Big Jimmy made me feel very welcome as well.
Two years later when I married "into the family" so to speak, he was all smiles and even loaned us his truck so that we could move!
He was, is, wherever he is...a wonderful person. Generous, gentle and thoughtful. We're all better people for having him in our lives.
Carmen Phillips
January 26, 2005
What a shock to hear the sad news. I'm glad we are honoring Jimmy by sharing memories of the difference he made at EC and Sr. Haus. I keep hearing echoes of creaking hall doors (what was it - a DAA key?), Jimmy's keys jangling, and the audible panting as he made his way down the hall. It was comforting to have someone else up and about in the wee hours, even if he and the freshman double made too much noise while I was doing ICE. After I closed Desk, we'd sit behind the metal gate, have pizza, and dish the dirt. I hope Big Jimmy becomes as legendary as the stories he told.
Luisa Torrielli
January 26, 2005
A lot of memories asking Jimmy to repeat stories of his wild adventures from his younger years. To a sheltered kid who’d grown up mostly in libraries, these stories were worth more than gold.

You could go to him with your problems, and he’d always say something like, you know these people, they’re killing themselves over their exams, “And for what? For what?” You could go to a shrink or a priest or whatever, but it seemed none of them could be more comforting or effective at jolting you out of the sludge of your own troubles like one of Jimmy’s for whats.

To Jimmy’s family: My deepest condolences on your immeasurable loss. Your Jimmy was such a good man. Thank you for sharing him with us.
Cherry Ogata
January 25, 2005
Most knew you as "Big Jimmy" on campus but I knew you as Dad's best friend in the whole world. You stood up for me at my confirmation, always remembered me come graduation,christmas time,my wedding and always helped out Dad when I couldn't. You were a giant among men in so many ways. Your departure has a left a huge hole in the Moore family but we'll fill it with all of the memories you've left us. By the way, we all know you're still watching us so just thought I'd let you know me and Dad both agreed that we know you're up to something by that smile/smirk you left us all with. We miss you and love you always.

John Moore - Nephew by choice not by blood !!!!
John Moore
January 25, 2005
I can't even imagine how many lives Big Jimmy touched. To those of us at Senior Haus and East Campus, he was absolutely family. I feel so priveleged to have known him.
Amy Schonsheck
January 25, 2005
Jimmy, apart from his many other roles, served as Homer to the East Campus Iliad and Odyssey, maintaining an oral tradition of the our brilliant and ridiculous undergraduate feats.

He would pass by when we were studying our hardest, but would also attend our greatest moments of mischief, weaving stories into legends that might still be whispered in the halls.

"Men come and go as leaves year by year upon the trees. Those of autumn the wind sheds upon the ground, but when spring returns the forest buds forth with fresh vines. Even so is it with the generations of mankind, the new spring up as the old are passing away." (Iliad 6.181-5)

But men like Jimmy come rarely. We'll miss him.

Stephanie Sparvero
January 25, 2005
I returned to MIT six years after I graduated. It was a Sunday and I gave Big Jimmy a call at home. He showed up within an hour to see me and brought over his grandson. He spent about half an hour talking to me in the EC courtyard and asked me about all the common people we knew. He never forgot a thing which was amazing. One of my fondest memories of MIT was having Big Jimmy around - when I went back - I didn't call my professors, I called Big Jimmy.
Wasiuddin Wahid
January 25, 2005
Big Jimmy was all heart and laughter, dressed up in a night watchman's uniform. He knew detailed gossip better than any single person should have. He chatted with all who were nocturnal at some point during their time at school (which means he chatted with everyone). He even saved my cat once when it fell off the 5W ledge at 3 o'clock in the morning.

Big Jimmy -- he's great peoples. He'll be sorely missed.
Charla Lambert
January 25, 2005
During rush in 1995, I was assigned to East Campus 2E. My first night at MIT, I locked myself out of my room and dorm at 2 or 3 am. That was when I first met Jimmy :)

He had a way of engaging people that made you feel like you were an old friend. I'll miss him.
Andrew Parker
January 25, 2005
Big Jimmy was a great friend of many students. Not only did he watch out for us, but he offered me many, many late night conversations... always raising my spirits in the late, dark hours on 41W. I will never forget him or his gifts of Jimmy Pizzas and Jimmy Pops.
Nate Janos
January 25, 2005
East Campus will never be the same without its regular doses of Big Jimmy wisdom (your Cholla bread needs more raisins and a lot more cinnamon!), Jimmy Pizza after midnight (you'd think we'd learn after the hundredth time burning the roofs of our mouths), and his booming call down the hall "STUDENTS!!!!!" Peace Jimmy :o)
Stephanie Brooks
January 25, 2005
I was very sad to hear the news of Jimmy's passing. He was a truly good person, warm and caring. One has only to see how many MIT students of 10, 15 years ago still remember him fondly to realize what a special person he was. I lived in the dorm in the 80's, but would visit every few years and was always glad to see Jimmy's friendly face there. And it was nice to know that he remembered me.
Ricardo Sedan
January 25, 2005
Jimmy is a great guy with a big heart. He cares for people deeply, strongly and completely. And for a big guy who had to walk up and down stairs all night (EC still doesn't have elevators), he has a great sense of humor :)

I will miss his presence, his laugh, and even the way he'll talk your ear off from time to time. God bless him - and if they need night watchmen in heaven, they just got lucky.
Chris "Paco" Barron
January 25, 2005
I was the Associate Housemaster at East Campus Dormitory for 14 years and Big Jimmy was a rock upon whom I could always depend. He never failed to bring his concerns about students to my attention and I could always rely on him to share valued insights and perspectives. He not only loved our students but I felt personally cared for by him when he would walk me from my car to the dorm late at night.
Finally, I have one humorous memory that EC residents from the past might also recall. For several years, Big Jimmy and I were two of the judges for the East Campus "Gong Show". He had a large gong and we'd laugh for hours at the zany acts and the inventiveness of the EC students in general.
Ayida Mthembu
Ayida Mthembu
January 25, 2005
Big Jimmy was a fixture of Senior House "back in the day". MIT can be a large and impersonal place, and he was one of the few people that always had time for you. I hope that the institute can find someone somewhere half as big-hearted and generous. Jimmy, see you on the other side.
Alok Saldanha
January 25, 2005
Jimmy Roberts was, in addition to all the other roles he played in the MIT community, a strong and dedicated union steward with SEIU Local 615. He was an active defender of his co-workers' rights on the job, and always represented the union with good humor, devotion and respect.
Dan Nicolai
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