James R. “Jim” Manuel, age 80, of Wilmington, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on November 12, 2014, at the Winchester Hospital.
Jim was born on July 2, 1934 in Medford, MA; he was the cherished son of the late James and Lorraine E. (Fraser) Manuel. Jim lived in Medford until moving with his family to Wilmington as a young boy. Jim was educated in Wilmington and during his high school years he also traveled back and forth to Medford Vocational School where he took additional classes. Jim graduated from Wilmington High School with the Class of 1952.
Jim enlisted in the United States Navy on March 15, 1953, during the Korean War. Jim served overseas aboard the USS Observer for nearly three years and received several commendations for his service. Jim was honorably discharged from active duty on March 12, 1957 and went on to his duties in the Navy Reserves. During this time, Jim chose to further his education and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky.
Jim returned home to his family in Wilmington and took a teaching position in Stoneham, MA and soon discovered that he had found his calling as a teacher. Jim then went to work as a teacher for the Department of Defense Dependent’s School which took him to South Korea for a few years and then off to Germany where he made life long relationships with his students in Bonn, Munich, and Heidelberg. Jim’s passion for teaching young minds was incredible; he not only made teaching fun, but he made his student’s believe in themselves and strive to be whatever they wanted to be.
Jim traveled all over the world; his trek across Siberia, the Ho Chi Minh Trail, trips all over Europe and Asia as well as his many travels to points unknown were always shared with his family, friends, and students; he always brought the world to others.
Jim was an avid Photographer and a wiz on the computer; he shared his talents with his many students and was instrumental in sponsoring and putting together their many school yearbooks.
A large part of Jim’s life was volunteering with the Boy Scouts. Jim was a Scout Leader and Scout Master in Germany and here in the United States. Jim was a role model for the scouts, he taught them honesty, loyalty, integrity, community, and most of all hard work and compassion for others. He was truly and inspiration and always led by example.
As a Mason, Jim, was always there to lend a hand and was actively involved with the Masons Organizations all over the world. Jim was a member of the Bavarian Masons in Europe as well as the Friendship Lodge in Wilmington, MA. Jim’s winning personality, his unending knowledge, dependability, and his willingness to put others before himself made him a favorite amongst his fellow Masons. Jim made life-long friends with his fellow Masons all over the world and they will never forget him.
Jim was a man of great faith; he had a strong love of God, family, and his country; he was an active parishioner of the United Methodist Church in Wilmington, MA, where he was well loved and respected. Jim was always helping out with fund raisers, missions, volunteer work, or anything else that he could do for his fellow parishioners to make their lives a little easier.
Jim will be fondly remembered for his kindness and compassion for others. His unconditional love and devotion to his family, friends, students, scouts, and fellow Masons was always unwavering. Jim’s exemplary life was truly an example for all to live by and his unselfishness towards others should be a lesson for us all. Jim was a ordinary man that lived an extraordinary life; he will be truly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Jim was the cherished son of the late James and Lorraine E. (Fraser) Manuel, dear brother of Barbara L. Clifford of Tewksbury, Janet Manuel of Wilmington, Patricia (Weir) Belinski and her husband Charles of Tewksbury, Thomas G. Manuel and his wife Jane Kroll Manuel of Summerville, SC, loving uncle of Daniel, James, Judith, Theresa, Dorothy, William, Lawrence, Joseph, Barbara, Pamela, Sandra, Janet, Lawrence, Jr., Gordon, Nannette, Kristine, Korin and the late Michael, Mary Ann, Mark, John and Eugene, nephew of Jean Clark of Melrose and Ruth Upham of Maine. Jim is also survived by many great-nieces & great-nephews, cousins and friends.
Family and friends will gather for a Funeral Service at the United Methodist Church of Wilmington on Monday, November 17th promptly at 11:00 a.m. Interment with Military Honors to follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. Visitation will be held at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave., (Rte. 62), Wilmington, MA on Sunday, November 16th from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim’s memory may be made to the United Methodist Church of Wilmington, 87 Church Street, Wilmington, MA 01887, to the Friendship Lodge of Wilmington, 32 Church Street, Wilmington, MA 01887 or to Union College, 310 College Street, Barbourville, KY 40906.