James H. “Jim” Rich Jr. of Southold died peacefully in his sleep at his home on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, less than 10 hours after meeting his youngest great-grandchild. He was 94 years old.
Jim was born on Oct. 21, 1927, in Greenport to James H. and Frances (Overton) Rich and grew up on the Overton homestead on Peconic Lane, Peconic. Jim attended Peconic School and Southold High School. In 1945, he left Southold School to join the United States Navy. Following his service in the Navy, he graduated from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. While a student at Union College, he married Adele Connors of Riverhead.
Family and community were the greatest of Jim’s interests. He was always very giving of his time and efforts. After graduating college, he worked for Young-Rich Associates building schools, hospitals and other commercial buildings throughout Long Island. In 1963, he and his father, James H. Rich Sr., began operating the Southold Lumber Company Inc., which he ran successfully until 1992. During those years he coached Little League baseball and was elected to the Southold school board, eventually becoming vice president. He belonged to Southold Rotary, where he served a term as its president. Jim was appointed director of Southold Savings Bank, where he was instrumental in merging Southold Savings Bank with North Fork Bank and Trust and served as a director there until 1997. During the ’80s and beyond he was involved in Eastern Long Island Hospital as a trustee and eventually chairman of the board.
Jim was twice elected as a Southold Town councilman and served one term subsequently as a Southold Town justice of the peace. After not seeking further election, he became a member of a town preservation committee that helped preserve Hummel’s Pond in Southold, where he enjoyed ice-skating for years, well into his 70s. For many years Jim drove local elderly people to their doctor appointments, even as he himself approached his 90s.
Jim rejoined Southold Fire Department in 1964 after having been a member in high school during World War II; he was a 58-year member. Additionally, Jim was a 70-plus-year member of Southold American Legion Post 803. Jim was a longtime member of the Seagyan Club in Peconic. An avid sailor and sailboat racer, Jim owned four different boats named “Settler” after his hometown. He was a life member and former trustee of Shelter Island Yacht Club. He was also a former member and past commodore of Southold Yacht Club and a member of the Off Soundings Club.
Jim was predeceased by his wife, Adele, of 68 years and his brother, Franklin. He is survived by his children, James H. Rich III (Teresa Lewandowski) and Thomas Rich (Corinne Arundel); four grandchildren, Katherine Rich, J. Henry Rich IV, Abigail Smith (Brenden), and Laura Lavoie (Alex); and four great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held at the Southold Wharf House on Friday, April 8, from 3 to 6 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to East End Hospice or Eastern Long Island Hospital.
DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold is serving the family.
This is a paid notice.