DURHAM, N.H. - Reverend James G. Pirie of Durham, New Hampshire, died quietly on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, after a period of declining health. Originally from Barre, Vermont, he was the youngest son of Elliott James Pirie and Etta Ann MacInnes. He served in various ministerial capacities with United Church of Christ congregations in Billerica and Sharon, Massachusetts, as well as Durham, Dover, Rochester and Wakefield, New Hampshire. He was also the director of elderly affairs for the city of Marlboro, Massachusetts.
During his years in Barre, he worked in the family-owned granite quarry, and after high school attended Bates College where, in 1949, he met the love of his life, Lucille Higgins. They went on to share 64 years of marriage and raised a family of three children. He was a devoted grandfather, sage advisor, minister, and ardent supporter to seven grandchildren and nothing brought a bigger smile to his face than proudly telling stories of their latest successes and adventures.
Jim loved the beauty and power of nature, whether walking in the woods or on the beaches of Maine, watching a storm roll in over Deering Lake, or feeding the birds and other animals that visited his backyard. He also enjoyed his season tickets to both UNH Hockey and the Portland Symphony where he and Lue made many dear friends.
An advocate of ecumenical worship, Jim worked to build bonds across denominations. Whether it was organizing a march for civil rights during the '50s and '60s, working with members of the Legislature to eliminate the listing of race on marriage licenses, establishing programs to assist the elderly, or bringing his dream for a state-of-the-art community senior center to fruition, Jim spent his life in service to his community and making the lives of others better through his efforts. Jim officiated hundreds of baptisms, weddings and funerals and his compassionate way of listening and steadfast commitment to honoring all those he came in contact with were far-reaching and touched the lives of many.
He is predeceased by his parents, his adoring wife Lucille, his brothers, Elliott and Robert Pirie, his sisters in-law Ruth and Almerinda Pirie, and brother-in-law Robert Robbins, all of Vermont, his brother- and sister-in-laws, Donald and Kate Higgins, of Arlington Ohio, and his sister-in-law, Barbara DeFronzo, of Columbia Maryland.
He is survived by his daughter, Lisabeth Pirie, of Leominster, Massachusetts, and her daughter, Korinna Hudson, of Nashua, New Hampshire; his son, Christopher and wife Kathleen Pirie, and their children, Ethan and Graham Pirie and Thomas and Michael Ippolito, all of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; his daughter, Sandra Pirie-St. Amour, and her husband, Timothy St.Amour, and their children, Madison and Griffin, all of Marlboro, Massachusetts; his sister, Ellen Robbins, of Barre, Vermont; his brother-in-law, Rocco DeFronzo, of Columbia, Maryland; and his many nieces and nephews and their families.
A celebratory service of remembrance for both Jim and Lue is planned for a future date to be determined by the family. In lieu of flowers, and in keeping with Jim's kind heart and generous spirit, the family asks that a donation be made to a charitable organization of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of Purdy Memorial Chapel, 2 Concord Road, Lee, NH, 03861; to sign our online guestbook, please go to www.purdyfuneralservice.com