Reitchel, James

May 15th, 2009

james_reitchelJames M. “Jimmy” Reitchel, age 44, of Wilmington, died unexpectedly, May 15, 2009.

Born on September 3, 1964, in Winchester, MA, Jimmy was the beloved son of Doris V. (Skeffington) Reitchel of Wilmington and the late Paul A. Reitchel. Jim grew up in Wilmington and attended Wilmington Public Schools, he was a very bright student and finished Wilmington High School in three years, graduating Class of 1981. Jim loved to travel and following High School Jim moved to California to live with family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jim was employed as a Flight Attendant for United Airlines for over ten years , he loved his job, it took him to great places and he met many people. Jim will be remembered by family and friends as a very talented artist especially in painting and drawing. He was very friendly and always doing for others. He had a love of animals and cared for his many pets, they were his pride and joy. Most notably was his devotion and generosity to his family, always unwavering, especially to his nieces and nephews with whom he was very close, he dedicated his time and resources whenever he could. He will be missed greatly by all who knew him.

Besides his mother who survives him, Jim was also the dear brother of Paul Reitchel, Kevin Reitchel, Richard Reitchel, Marilyn Reitchel-Gambale, and Gene Reitchel all of Maine, John “Bing” Reitchel of Tewksbury, William Reitchel of Bradford, and Dorice Reitchel of Manchester, NH, loving uncle of many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, Jimmy is also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington on Friday, May 22nd for visiting hours from 6-8 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, May 23rd in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 10:00 a.m.  Interment Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington.

Memorial donations in James’ name may be made to the M.S.P.C.A. – Angell Headquarters, 350 So. Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130.


38 Entries in Guest Book for “Reitchel, James”

  1. Carolyn and Marc Depoto says:

    We are so sorry about Jimmy. I have wonderful memories of him and he will be missed. Marc and I send our love and prayers to all of the Reitchels.

  2. Nancy Costello says:

    My condolences to all family and friends of Jimmy. I met Uncle Jimmy through his neice Kim on a visit to California. He was such a fun time! Great guy! Will be sadly missed. Nancy

  3. Rachel Griffiths says:

    Jimmy, You will always be in my heart as the smilling, jokester who loved his animals. I will remember you in Hawaii learning to surf and dancing a hula dance. Remember when you talked me in to riding ‘Diablo’ the sweet horse, then dusted the dirt off of me moments later. Life was always interesting with you! May you find peace and happiness that you so deserve. Love Rachel

  4. Mary Ann Foti says:

    I worked with Jim at EB Horns in Boston and although he wasn’t with us for some time, he would often call and catch up on things. He would always make me laugh and I had always hoped he would find happiness. Things did not always go right for him and where he was sensitive I always wished him strength. He will be in my prayers and will be missed always.

  5. Michelle Mugford says:

    I have such great memories of Jimmy. He was always so friendly whenever I saw him. He was a thoughtful, kind person who will definitely be missed. Scott and I send our love and prayers to all the family. We are so sorry.

  6. Lisa (Dee)Brady says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Jimmy. I will always remember him and the
    fun times we had at your summer camp with the rest of the family.
    I especially remember riding the rope swing out over the lake and jumping in. Those memories will be with me forever. My prayers and condolences to the family.

  7. Maria Avendano says:

    I speak on behalf of all of us at United Airlines in Boston: James was a kind, generous & selfless person to work with. He brought so much joy, and smiles to our work force. He has an infectious personality! So many of us are drawn to him because of his passion for life. He will be greatly missed. I will miss you so much James! I will think of you each time I take the flight up in “friendly skies of United” Love, Maria Avendano (boston Flight Attendant)

  8. Rita Giovanetti says:

    Jim(Buzz), I will miss you and your wonderful laugh. You were a devoted friend and always kept in touch no matter where either of us were. I have many crazy cartoons that I will cherish forever. Wherever you are I hope you are at peace and surrounded by animals. Love Ritajo

  9. Denise Mattera says:

    Working with “James” (as I had always called him) at United Airlines for about ten years, I found him to be one of the most caring people I have ever met. His genuine concern for other people was overwhelming, always willing to help out in any way possible. I will never forget some of the cards he would make to thank me for little things I had done for him in the office. He will be greatly missed.

    My Deepest Sympathy to his family and friends.
    Denise Mattera

  10. The Lennox Family says:

    We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Jimmy and we remember him with love for all of the wonderful caring things he did; and how funny, intelligent and thoughtful he could be.

    We will always remember the happy times we shared with Jimmy and he will always stay in our hearts hoping he has now found peace. We will all miss Jimmy with the knowledge that he was one of a kind and offer our deepest regrets for your loss.

    Mrs Christina, Fiona, Richard, Heather Lennox and family.

  11. Trudy Kennedy Sullivan says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Jimmy. I have many great memories at your house in Wilmington and up the the camp. Marilyn we need to get together. Dickie I want to send condolences from my brother Jimmy to you and your family.

    My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.


  12. Melissa Chisholm says:

    First of all, I am completely shocked at the death of James. I will always remember his kindness, and his love for life. I met James, on my first flight that I worked with United Airlines. He assured me that I would be okay, and that I would fit right in with everyone else. I had flown with him several times since that day, with the last time being Valentines Day. We had a long layover in downtown Chicago, and we went to dinner together as we both agreed that noone should be alone on Valentines Day. The next morning when we went downstairs for our check in, he gave me a box of chocolates and thanked me for taking the time to have dinner with him the night before. I’m so sorry for your loss, but please find comfort in knowing that James will not be forgotten. Rest in peace my friend, and please watch over all of us, and keep us safe here on Earth.
    Love, Melissa Chisholm

  13. Richard Lennox says:

    Jimmy was bright, funny and full of life. He couldn’t do enough for others. Jimmy was a real hero because when someone was down he’d be there to pick up the pieces. Whatever the problem was, he had the answer. He treated animals like people, people like friends, and friends like family.

    Richard Lennox,
    Edinburgh, Scotland

  14. Mrs. Christina Lennox says:

    Rest in peace, dear Jimmy.

    Mrs Christina Lennox,
    Edinburgh, Scotland

  15. Judy Gray says:

    Jim, you always made me laugh. I have many fond memories of us going out on the town. Never a dull moment with you and the drawings my god there wasnt anything that you couldnt capture. Yes you had struggles along the way, but who doesn’t? I will always be honored to have been your friend. I love you and will miss you terribly. Love Judy

    I wish you could see my boys you would love them. You always asked for them. You were so special.

  16. Rosemary Fobert says:

    Jimmy was one of a kind. There was no one like him. He was color, in a gray world. He was like a shooting star.

    I first met cousin Jimmy when he visited from Boston as a young teen. He was a chubby boy cooking beer batter onion rings in his aunt Jeannie’s kitchen. After high school he moved here. His Aunt Jeannie was very supportive and loved him dearly. He is with her now.

    While here he lived in many places and had lots of friends and family.
    He had a great social life in San Francisco and Tiburon where he both hosted and attended events that included, among others, polititions and stars.
    He lived in the wine country where he trained race horses and later worked with a veterinarian. He became a flight attendant and visited many exciting places.
    And these are only a few of the many ways he reinvented himself. He couldn’t sit still.

    He was so funny. I’ve never laughed so hard as with Jimmy. He had such a quick mind; such a character. His impersonations were priceless.

    When my kids were little, he was Mr, Cornsnake. Mr. Cornsnake would chase them down, and lick barbique sauce off of their feet, over the kitchen sink, while they would be screeming and laughing. He was great with kids.

    I still laugh when I think of his antics; such as getting his rear stuck in the window of my truck while trying to get out quickly, or being caught in his smile face pajamas, at our construction site , by the porta-potty men. Whether it was shopping,cooking cleaning or just hanging out, he was always up to something. I will miss his humor; his laughter, most of all.

    He was a good friend. I could call him anytime, day or night, and he always had time for me. He was a good listener, and a confidant.

    Jimmy- I will always miss you and love you. We buried your horse, Big Foot , on the morning of your burial. She is with you forever now. How ironic that you two would leave us at the same time. I will picture you riding her bareback , through the clouds, and of course laughing all the while. I love you cousin. Rose

  17. Rosemary Fobert says:

    Dear Uncle Jimmy (Mister Cornsnake), We will always love you. We want you to know that we named Big Foot’s new born son after you. We named him
    “Sweet Baby James”. We know you will take good care of his mom. And we will take good care of your namesake. Happy trails to you , Uncle Jimmy.
    We love you.

    Bray, MIchael, and Caitlin
    Lakeport, California

  18. Niece Kimmy says:

    Dear Jim,

    I have a lifetime of great memories that will remain in my hear forever. You were always so thoughtful and caring and even if I hadn’t seen you for awhile we’d just pick up comfortably where we had left off. You were more like a favorite big brother to me than an uncle and I will never forget all the great times we’ve had together. You are truly a special person who has touched so many lives. I am so happy we got to spend an afternoon together back in late March. I will miss you terribly. Love, Kimmy

  19. Zaino Mizani, Palm Springs says:

    Very Shocked , Sad and speechless , He was pure loving sprit , he is smile is always in my mind! with many special memories! like in my sadness part of my life when we took trip to cypress!

    Palm Springs, CA

  20. Dorice Reitchel, sister says:

    Oh, Jimmy. I love you dearly; i miss you dearly. I don’t even know where to begin.
    I wish I cherished you more while you were alive. The countless numbers of little things: favors, drawings, impersonations, practical jokes, and, oh, the stories, the “Jimmy stories”….. I wish i could remember them all now.
    I will continue to remember them, and you. Our family and your friends have helped me remember the stories. I have talked to our neices and nephews, and have really enjoyed talking to our California cousins. You certainly did live the high life out there, and I was lucky enough to visit and be part of some of it. Neverending kindness keeps coming to mind.
    I promise to keep your memory alive. Your presence wove thru my life like a dream: from the relentless teasing as a child, to living together. You were always there for me. I wish i was there more for you, especially at the end. I am so sorry.
    FOR THOSE WHO REMEMBER HIM, AND WHO HAVE WRITTEN HERE, I know he loves being remembered by so many people. Please keep writing. I will read these thoughts for months and years to come. It helps keep him alive with me. My husband and I are posting some photos of him, my eulogy from the funeral mass, and hopefully publishing a children’s book he wrote and illustrated about Auntie Jeanne and the animals on the hill in Corte Madera, CA, at (there is a gallery marked “other” with Jimmy’s picture on it).
    I miss you, and I truly do have faith you are at peace now.
    I love you, Eva Grub, Greasy Wheezy, Edith…..your little sister, Dorice
    I promise Gaby and Julia will grow up knowing Uncle Jimmy. I promise.

  21. Susan Cintolo " Suzie" says:

    Dearest Jimmy, I will never forget you, and especially all the laughing we did. I still have a few of the drawings of me in the “daisy dress” We were all so glad you came back to work with us during the Christmas season, a few years ago. Your fun, free spirit made us all laugh, and rekindle all the stories.
    You had a sweet and sensitive side not everyone saw. You always could make ajoke and look at things on the bright side. Im so sorry we lost touch for a while. You will be remembered with a smile…….you will truly be missed. The world is a sad place , without you in it. XXXXX

  22. sandi burns says:

    jim, i wish there were the perfect words to capture you in a short way- but there really is no small way to do so-you were big to those who shared in your friendship and in your life, ours of 23 years i will cherish. you were a good man, strong and silly who found the best in all. I will miss you forever. love always, “tootles”

  23. Singson Family says:

    From my the Singson family to the Reitchel’s. Our hearts and prayers go out to you and yours.

  24. Mercy Beale says:

    Dear Jim,

    You’ll forever be miss. I thank you for making me laugh and for being a kind friend. You are always in my thoughts and prayers and your family.

  25. Linda Waterman Reed says:

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Jimmy. I remember him from Mystic Avenue many, many years ago. He was very funny and always made me laugh. My condolences to all of his family.

  26. David Griffiths and Sophia says:

    I met my cousin Jimmy when he first came to California as a teenager and quickly learned that being in his presence was going to be an event filled experience. He always added an extra spark of energy at our family gatherings that will be greatly missed. What I always saw in Jimmy was a consistent trueness to his friends. I especially appreciated that he was always good and kind with animals, a trait which connected him strongly with my mom and our family. Some of my best family memories include Jimmy. I will miss sharing more experiences with him but he will always remain with me in my memories of the good times.

  27. Caitlin Christian (Fobert) says:

    Jimmy we will miss you ! We will miss the way you could brighten up a room.
    The way you could make everyone smile and laugh. I will miss you so very much … I will miss the dance we did for the barbie girl song…:)

    Love You , Caitlin Christian (Fobert) from Germany,

  28. Diane Stewart says:

    I am shocked and, saddened to hear about Jimmy’s passing. I think fondly back to the days when I was very close with Dorice and, how Jimmy treated me as though I was one of the family. I rememeber when he taught me (or, tried to) teach me how to water ski at the Reitchel Camp in Maine many years ago – what a blast we had! Even though it’s been many years since I’ve seen Jimmy, the profound effect he had on my life at such a young age will always be treasured. Rest in peace, Jimmy. My thoughts & prayers are with his entire family and, friends at this time.

  29. Terra Brame says:


    I met you for the very first time the day I arrived at the United Airlines Flight Attendant Training Center in Chicago. You were in the room directly across the hall from mine and you came right over introduced yourself and helped me pick the best bed and closet in my dorm room. You were in the class one week ahead of mine. You were the “light” of your class. We both “successfully completed training” and graduated early in 1999.

    We were both assigned reserve in JFK and decided that we should share a “crash pad” in Queens on Dartmouth Street. It was you and I and 7 other new flight attendants. We shared a room with 2 other reserves and you had the bottom bunk to my top bunk. You and I talked so much at night when it was bedtime that the other roomates Cat and Gabby got mad at us and told us to “just be quiet and go to sleep” which just made us giggle and cut up even more. Until the final “goodnight John boy” (from Little House on the Praire”.) You were so tall that you also always used your feet to push up my mattress and simulate an earthquake..Guess us Californian’s just thought that was funny…

    You helped me through the terminal illness of both of my parents through our years as friends. You helped me with the trials and tribulations of raising three girls and being a flight attendant based away from home in Southern Ca. You took me into your life and introduced me to your sister Dorice, your cousins Rosemary, Andy, Michael and Caitlin. We had a blast visiting Rosemary at the ranch and Michael saved my life when I tried to fall down the slope at the rope swing. smile
    I spent a week with you in New Hampshire when you lived in the little cabin with the wood stove and we painted the inside a wild caribbean yellow and you nursed me back to health when I got bronchitas while visiting. We laughed so much that week.

    You helped me realize that it was okay to leave United when my daughter Kelli developed anxiety attacks after 9/11 and that God had a way of making life go on after flying.

    You encouraged me when I decided later to go back to flying for Virgin America.

    Whenever we talked or got to visit with each other you were always sure to tell me what a beautiful family and children I had and what a beautiful person I was. Even when I might not think so. You celebrated so many successes with me. For Kevin, for my girls and for myself.

    We had marathon talks on the phone playing catch up.

    I admired so much the way you loved your family especially your nieces and nephews. We helped Michael realize his dream of being a firefighter with sage advice from my husband Kevin “the Chief”.

    You loved you furry “babies” more than anyone I know.

    You had more “drama” both on the small scale and large scale than anyone I will ever meet. But that made it such an adventure to talk or see you each time I had that opportunity.

    Your sense of humor, artistic talent, and all those songs and impressions are what made you “James” to me. I remember times we were so bored on reserve in JFK that you would put on music and lip sinc to whatever artist we had on at the time, lots of Diana Ross. You were so spot on and funny.

    I was trying to get in touch with you very recently because my trips were layovers in Boston and I thought it would be great if we could get together. I even called Rosemary to track you down. I was shocked when I got the call from her informing me of your death.

    I am so sorry that we did not connect and that I was not there for you at the end. I know that I will be seeing you on the other side and that the place you are is a better place. You are no longer in pain, you are free and with all your critters.

    I also know that you are looking out for me and that the Love we had as friends is something that can never be taken away. I feel so blessed to have had you as a part of my life and the lives of my family.

    You were a wonderful and caring flight attendant, and that can be very difficult at times. You made the uniform proud when you wore it. You always took a positive attitude to work with you and it showed. Plus you were so handsome!

    I miss you so much right now that it is difficult to put into words.

    Those of you that are James family members need to know how much he was loved by so many that he came in contact with. I for one am so glad that he walked across the hall that day in Chicago to welcome me to Chicago, to his life, and into his world. He made my world a better place just by being my friend.

    I’m going to miss you buddy…you take care and keep me in your prays each day.

    All my Love,


  30. Patty Flanagan says:

    To James family,

    I am so so sorry for your loss … James was an amazing person and a wonderful friend to fly with.
    He constantly would tell us stories of his family and it was obvious how much he loved you all.

    I have wonderful memories of him and will cherish them forever …

    Take good care,

    Patty Flanagan

  31. Fiona Lennox says:

    Dear Reitchel family..I cannot express how much sadness I feel . Jimmy was a true friend to me, so many times he helped me out in some very difficult times. No matter how bad things were , he would always have me laughing in no time. All the times he would cook dinner for the kids & I in Andover. He would shoo me off to have a shower, which included a perfumed towel & glass of wine while he toiled in the kitchen and had the kids occupied playing with toys. The time we went into Boston with 8 kids in tow and Jimmy let the lady at the make-up counter think we were married as he fawned over me and insisted on buying me a fancy skin care kit. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing as she remarked “All those children & you still act like teen-agers!!!”
    The time we were trying to ‘quietly” trying to put a sofa on top of the station wagon with all the kids in it in without making a scene. Jimmy , of course, had me hysterical when he said ” It`s like the Beverly Hillbillies, all we need is Granny on top!!”
    There are many, many other fond memories of Jimmy and all the kind things he has done. Everywhere I look I see things that remind me of him, or can hear his voice . There is no one like Jimmy and I know we will meet again someday. My thoughts, prayers and gratitude go to Mrs. Reitchel and the whole family, who have always treated me and my children like their own. Fiona & family

  32. Tina Favero says:

    Dorice and Family,

    I am so sorry to hear of Jimmy’s passing. I have wonderful memories of him as a happy-go-lucky sort of fellow who, like the entire Reitchel family, always made me feel so at home. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.


  33. Joni Littlefield says:

    Dear Jimmy,
    I only had the chance to work with you for 2 Christmas season’s at E.B.Horn, but you were a breath of fresh air. You always made me laugh and your kindness will always be appreciated. You taught me not to over obsess on my scars. You had a few too, but you were so open and honest. You will be missed. I had hopes to to work with you again or at least live a little closer so we might have seen each other more often. Please save a seat for me, and maybe a halo too.
    Love and hugs, Joni L

  34. Colleen Ericson says:

    Dearest friend for life,
    I am heart broken to have you leave, I trust it is where you are meant to be. You taught me friendship, I remember you said to me “Colleen if you have one friend in the world, that is all you need.” You were my friend and will always stay close to me in our continued friendship for eternity. I will not let you go in my heart as the memory holds strong. There are so many memories:
    Meeting at Sears laughing so loud while we pretended we were working…
    cutting your hair laughing as i tried to give you a “style”….rocking on the rocking chair telling each other stories of how we were going to get my friend Anne to make up with me…horseback riding wildly……dancing the night away and winning the dance contest……finding you a woman… for each other during difficult relationships…..drinking margaritas on the hill in Corte Madera…..riding the Stallion at Rosemary’s bare back…..long days at the beach in Marin…..naming my son “Logan” together after our favorite movie “Logan’s Run”….being Logan’s godfather…visits at Rosemary’s farm…..celebrating you getting hired by United…living with us…..talking for hours on the phone through difficult times…..cherished moments that were timeless…..
    my forever friend, i so would love to hug you right now and be with you. I know you are near and I will hold you dear to me as the brightest star that has touched the night, I will look up at the sky and think of you.
    You leave many friends and family deeply love you and I bet you are smiling knowing that this is true.
    in gratitude for you touching my life with your love,
    Colleen 530-478-5788 (love to talk with you Rosemary, please call)

  35. Debby Babalas says:

    To all the Members of the Reitchel Family,
    Please accept my sincerest condolences on your loss.
    It was an honor and a priviledge to know James. He was such a charming young man.We flew together in Boston for months at a time. He was a camellion, that was gifted with so many talents, he made each interaction, a loving experience to cherish. I will forever cherish a sketch that James drew of me on my announcement booklet, which he entitled” To Princess” ( my nickname)” love Demetri “(his name in Greek) He was so proud to share pictures and stories about his family and his animals.That i feel like i know you personally. My heartfelt prayers go out to all of you.
    “May His Memory Be Eternal”
    All My Love,

  36. Hector Hernandez says:

    Dear Family Of James

    I am so sad of the passing of James was with him for 4 years lived together in Chicago my whole family here and in Mexico are very sad…. Deepest sympathy for all of James family…… Will like talk to someone of James family….. Please call 773 841 6679 Rosemary please call me….. James was a great giving person wonderful human being….. Very sad of his departure…

    HECTOR HERNANDEZ 773 841 6679

  37. Niece Kimmy says:

    Dear Friends and Family,

    I am just checking back and reading all of the wonderful memories you have posted and the love you have all expressed for Jimmy.

    I can’t believe it’s only been a few weeks as it already feels like an eternity for me. I keep thinking lately that I will receive a phone call any day with Jimmy saying “Hi Kim, it’s Uncle Jim, just checking in… call me and tell Paul, Connor and Ryan a big hello from me, I love you and you BETTER call me”.

    I keep telling myself that Jimmy is now in a happier place riding horses bareback somewhere in a field of wild flowers without a care in the world. Jimmy would also be so happy to know the three memorable characteristics we all seem to vividely remember and will neve forget are his love of animals, his unconditional caring and compassion for all of us, and his humor that could light up any room. I love and miss you uncle Jim,

  38. cheryl michaels says:

    i am so sad to hear of jimmy passing, words can not explain.jimmy had one of the biggest hearts a person could ever have.he was a friend to everybody no matter what and he was always there when you needed him.jimmy will always have a place in my heart ,there will always be the laughter and smiles of him always in my memories.we miss you and love you jimmy cheryl,jaimee christina and jonathan

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