Obituary for Col. James "Jim" Elliott, Jr.
Hampden – On November 24, 2017 Col. James A. Elliott, Jr. died peacefully at home, surrounded by family and friends. He was born February 24, 1951, in Bangor, the first son of Dr. James and Beatrice (Barton) Elliott.
His childhood was a typical one, playing with the local children in the Forest Avenue, and later Broadway neighborhoods of Bangor, where his father practiced veterinary medicine. Many summers were spent at YMCA’s Camp Jordan, at the family cottage on Phillips Lake, or in Ontario at the Elliott homestead. In winter, the family skied and enjoyed their condo at Squaw Mountain. They also spent time vacationing in Florida.
Jim attended Bangor public schools, graduating from Bangor High School, class of 1969. Following graduation he began studying at the University of Missouri, graduating in 1973 with a BS in Environmental Sciences. During that time he worked summers at the Dept. of Marine Resources, Sea-Run Salmon Division. Then, deciding that environmental management wasn’t what he was looking for, he developed an interest in the military.
After completing Basic Training and Officers Candidate School, Jim was stationed at Fort Ord, in California where he attended the Language School in Monterey, where he learned to read, write, and speak the Turkish language. He was also promoted to Captain. This took him to Erzurum, Turkey, where he became the Executive Officer and translator for that tour. He left active duty upon returning to the States. He moved to Memphis, TN in 1982, where he began working in the money management industry. He also joined an Engineering Battalion with the US Army Reserve.
After moving back to Maine in the early 80’s, he continued with the US Army Reserve and began studying at Husson University (then College) and working at Shearson Lehman Brothers in Bangor. Jim became a father to son, James III in February 1986. James was a lifelong source of pride and enjoyment for Jim. He felt a great sense of comfort and trust having James around to care for him during his last few days.
In 1988 Jim rose to the rank of Major. He received a Masters of Science in Business from Husson in 1990. From 1986 – 1999 he was affiliated with the 76th Division in various capacities in Bangor, Lewiston, and Augusta. Eventually he became Commander of the 2nd Battalion, 304th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 98th Division out of Saco. During that time he was promoted to Lt. Colonel, and in 2005 was promoted to Colonel. After selling stock and providing financial services in the private sector, he left that field and began teaching math and science to incarcerated youths in the Maine State Corrections System. He retired from that position in 2006.
It was during the last couple years working for the State that the military took him on assignment to Eritrea. He was Chief Operations Officer for the 2004 United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. He supervised 220 UN observers from 38 countries. Later, in 2006, Jim was on loan from the US government once again for a similar mission with the United Nations in Liberia.
He began enjoying retirement from both the military and private arenas when he returned home. Together with James and his friends and relatives, he enjoyed winter months on snowmobiles and ice fishing, and some hunting in the Fall. Summers were spent on his motorcycle or bicycling. He completed the Trek Across Maine 2 years in a row where he became friends with many people. In the Spring came fishing in the brooks, lakes, and rivers. Jim loved to fish. Fortunately, he and James enjoyed countless hours together doing just that. Another source of pride and enjoyment was his grandchildren, Lily and Finn. You could find, scattered around his home, numerous photos of them as well as their drawings and cards, which became refrigerator art. Jim was also an avid reader, a scholar of history, and dabbled with ham radio in the later years. While still feeling well enough over the past 2 years, he travelled to Scotland and the Caribbean.
It was during a training run for the Trek Across Maine that he developed difficulty breathing, and was quickly diagnosed with multiple myeloma. There is no cure, but given his excellent general health, it was felt that he had a good shot at keeping it in check up to 10 years. He underwent a stem cell transplant at Dana Farber, in Boston, in July 2014. Several courses of chemotherapy began soon after. Initially, his numbers and results were encouraging. He was still able to enjoy life and the hopes were high. However, around the beginning of November, the results were not encouraging and there were no options for treatment left. The remaining days were spent as one might think, in resolve mixed with hopelessness. Still, he faced death with courage and lived out his final days of life just as his first days were, surrounded by family, friends, and love.
In addition to his parents, Jim was predeceased by a niece, Christie Danforth Wallace, and loyal friend, Steve Glencross, of Orono. Surviving in addition to his son, James A. Elliot, III, RN, is his daughter-in-law, Ashley Johnson Elliott, and grandchildren, Lily Ann and Finn James, of Hermon; his sister, Janet Danforth Moir and her husband Robert of Westminster, SC; his brother, Paul and his wife, Leesa, of Lakeland, FL, and their children, Alex, Megan, and Jesse; his nephew, Stuart Danforth and his wife, Tricia, of SC, and their daughters; his nephew, Mark Danforth, and his wife Terri, of Bangor; brother-in-law, Chris Danforth, of Orrington; many aunts, uncles, and cousins in Canada; and lifelong friends, Sanborn Miller, of Hampden, Philip Frederick, of Surry, and former spouse and friend, Barbara Treat Elliott, of Bangor.
The family would like to thank Dr. Scott Thomas and the ED staff at St. Joseph Hospital for caring for Jim so promptly and with profound gentleness and compassion. Also, special thanks to Katie Pattavina, RN, for providing Reiki practices during his final hours. We’re sure that you made the transition much more peaceful. Thank you also to Pastor Kirk Winters for coming to Jim’s home and leading us in prayer.
There will be a memorial service for Jim at 4:00PM, Friday, December 1, 2017 at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor, with Pastor Brian Haggerty officiating. Please join the family to share refreshments and conversation at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center St., Bangor, immediately after the service. Interment will be in the Spring, at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Augusta.
Those who wish to remember Jim in a special way may make gifts in his memory to the Native Fish Coalition, P.O. Box 255, Lincolnville Center, ME, 04850, or to a charity of your choice.