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James Drawbridge Jr.

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James Drawbridge Jr. Obituary
James N. Drawbridge Jr.

BARRE - James N. Drawbridge, Jr. passed away at home on Monday, January 7, 2019 after a three-month battle with cancer. He leaves his wife of 29 years, Cynthia Payne; a son, Peter Drawbridge of Worcester; a brother, Neil Drawbridge of Vashon, WA; a sister-in-law, Elaine Drawbridge of Holden; a stepbrother, George Warren Jr. of Greenville, SC; two nieces, Teagan Drawbridge Quealy of Scituate and Dara Drawbridge Neville of Holden; three nephews, Yaran Drawbridge of North Providence, RI, Tanner Drawbridge of Worcester and Nathan Drawbridge of Barre; and a gallery of relatives and friends who were much-loved by him, and who regarded him in turn as fondly as those to whom he was bonded by blood and marriage. A brother, Stephen Drawbridge of Holden pre-deceased him in 2002.

He was born in Holden, son of James N., Sr. and Dorothy Staples Drawbridge and graduated from Wachusett Regional High School in 1961 and Hillsdale College, MI in 1966.

Jim's first position out of college was as a third grade teacher in Litchfield, MI, a brief but indelible experience that left a lasting impression on both he and his students, many of whom he stayed in contact with throughout the course of his life. Even as he moved into fundraising as a professional vocation, his time spent as an educator instilled in him an enduring desire to mentor, coach, and encourage young people he met along the way. Jim's genuine interest in people was one his purest qualities.

In his professional life, Jim served as Director of Development for Hillsdale College, Rhode Island School of Design, Worcester Art Museum and New England College, among others. From 1998-2014 he served as Vice President, Strategic Fundraising for the Ruffalo-Cody organization in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In later years, he consulted for several non-profit organizations.

Jim's personal life was filled with a variety of diverse interests. He was a voracious reader who loved words and a dedicated dad to many dogs, cats and other furry critters. With Cynthia, he loved to travel, counting several memorable trips to Italy with friends and family among their many pursuits. At various points in his life, he was an avid runner, cyclist and golfer. A Bruins, Red Sox and Patriots fan, he always preferred a good college game when he could find it, and if there was one game he preferred above all others, it was hockey.

Jim's passion for hockey began at a young age and never dimmed. After starting the hockey team at Wachusett Regional High School in 1961, Jim enrolled at Hillsdale College, where the hockey club he put together in 1962 eventually attained varsity status. Jim coached the Hillsdale hockey team from 1962-1963, and again from 1966-1974. A scholarship fund was later created in his honor and Jim was inducted into the Hillsdale College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.

All reports indicate that ice conditions were perfect on Monday as Jim skated past St. Peter to join his brother Stephen at center ice. Play was delayed several minutes as a menagerie of beloved family pets charged across the Rainbow Bridge and over the boards, skittering across the blue line with delirious joy as Jim went to his knees and swept them into his arms.

To know him was to love him. He will be dearly missed.

A memorial service will be held at Val's Restaurant in Holden on Wednesday, January 16th at 1 pm. Miles Funeral Home, 1158 Main St., Holden is assisting the family with arrangements.

Memorial donations may be made through the Jim Drawbridge Scholarship fund c/o Hillsdale College (https://secured.hillsdale.edu/hillsdale/jim-drawbridge-scholarship/)

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Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Jan. 11 to Jan. 13, 2019
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