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James Edward ‘Jim’ Wilbur

SHARON — James Edward “Jim” Wilbur, formerly of Sharon and Biddeford, Maine, died at his home in Peoria, Ariz., on Oct. 10, 2018. He was 75. 

Jim was predeceased by his father, Charles B. Wilbur Sr.; his mother, Teresa (Deneen) Wilbur; his brother, Charles B. Wilbur Jr.; his uncle, William A. Wilbur; and his former wife, Judith (Wright) Wilbur.

Jim graduated from Housatonic Valley Regional High School. He briefly attended college in Boston and, when called, joined the Air Force until he was medically discharged for his asthma, which caused him lifelong health issues. 

Jim loved baseball and had fond memories of “epic” games played until dark, throughout his youth in Sharon. Over the years he both played for and coached the Sharon town team. He was an avid Yankees fan and enjoyed attending games with his friends and his children. After moving from the area, it became tradition for Jim and his son to attend Old Timers’ Day when he was home for visits, and he even came to enjoy the “new” field. 

He enjoyed fishing, both freshwater and deep-sea, and provided many entertaining adventures that are still talked about today. 

During his time in Maine, he loved walking the beaches and amassed a huge collection of sea glass. In Arizona, Jim was able to perfect his golf game in the proverbial “dry heat” that he loved so much. 

Jim worked for the N.Y. State Highway Department and the Wassaic Developmental Center in addition to stints as both a painter and mechanic. 

In 1984 Jim entered Parkside Lodge (now Mountainside Treatment Center) and it was then, he often said, that his life truly began. Following his own treatment, Jim began working in the Youth Program at Parkside, where he remained until his move to Maine. Once there, Jim shifted his focus and began working with adults with mental disabilities, managing group homes within the community. 

In Arizona, he spent his final years in the workforce providing one-to-one care for, as Jim referred to him, “My Buddy Adam,” whose mother described Jim as “a lifesaver to [our] family, and just a truly great man.”

Throughout his relocations and career shifts, Jim remained immensely proud of his 34-plus years of sobriety, during which he helped countless others. He will be remembered by many for his dedication, compassion, wisdom and willingness to help anyone he could. He will be remembered by those closest to him for his strong convictions (read “stubbornness”) and for being, as his granddaughter said, “a real jokester” (read “habitual teller of very bad Dad Jokes”).

Jim is survived by his brothers, Gerry Wilbur and his wife, Nellie, of Torrington, and Thomas Wilbur and his wife, Connie, of San Antonio, Texas; his son, James A. Wilbur and his partner, Laura French, of Pine Plains; his daughter, Mary T. Wilbur of Lakeville; his former wife, Kathleen (Nelligan) Wilbur of Amenia; his step-daughters, Joan Wingard and her husband, Jerri, of Falls Village, Jeannette Wright of Sharon and Kimberly Wright of New Haven; and his beloved grandchildren, James, Ella, Charlie, Mairead, Kayla, Jacquie, Stefanie and Paxton. He also leaves behind several cousins, nieces and a nephew.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at a later date to be announced.