James E.'s Story
James E. Honan, Sr., 97, died peacefully on August 12, 2017, at Mercy Hospital with his family by his side.
He was born in Portland on October 24, 1919, a son of Martin and Ellen Brogan Honan. He attended St. Dominic’s Elementary School and graduated from Cheverus High School in 1938 and Portland Junior College.
Known as Jimmy to family and friends, he was an accomplished athlete and an avid sports fan. At Cheverus High School, Jimmy was class president while also being All State in football and basketball and All Telegram League in baseball. He was one of only a handful of athletes in the history of Cheverus to be a captain in all three sports. Following graduation, he was recruited by Frank Leahy, then football coach at Boston College. At the beginning of World War II, Jimmy enlisted in the Army and due to his athletic reputation throughout New England, he was assigned to play on the Ft. Devens (MA) athletic teams which toured the Northeast for two years. He was one of only a very few amateur athletes on these teams. He served his country in Europe until the war’s end under General Omar Bradley. After the war, he returned to his beloved Portland and began working for Eastern Oil. As sales manager and controller, he managed the continuing growth of the company until it was purchased by Union Oil in 1980. He never officially retired and was still involved in sales until he was 85 years old.
He was active with Catholic Charities and served as president in 1960. He was the oldest graduate of Cheverus High School, was inducted into the Cheverus Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005, and together with his wife, Mary T, received the Crescamus in Illo Award in 1984. They were instrumental in the direction of Cheverus from serving on various committees to launching the 300 Club and the Cheverus Dinner Club book, with each raising well over a hundred thousand dollars for the school.
A devout Catholic, Jim also dedicated his time to his parish in Falmouth, Holy Martyrs Church. He served as president of the Parish Council and was chairman of the capital campaign to raise funds to build the existing church.
Jimmy married Mary T. Morris of Falmouth Foreside on August 8, 1953. Jimmy left the city and crossed the bridge to Falmouth where he and Mary raised five children. Jimmy shared his love of sports with his children, the Falmouth community, and ultimately his grandchildren; coaching Little League, batting practices, playing hoops, timed running races around the backyard, and Honan Open golf tournaments are fond family memories. Other family traditions included hours spent together watching his Boston sports teams, the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Boston College Eagles, as well as his beloved Notre Dame. Family events were often planned around game time so Big Jim could watch his games and provide sideline commentary - often before the commentary was heard by the general public. He was a member of the Falmouth Lions Club and Portland Country Club, playing golf into his mid-90s and preferring walking over riding in a golf cart.
His infectious laugh and jolly personality endeared people of all ages to Jimmy. He had a twinkle in his Irish eyes, a pleasant word for everyone, and made all he met feel special.
Survivors include his beloved wife, Mary T., married for 64 years on August 8; his five children, Ellen Honan and her husband, Dick Curry of Portland, Jim Jr. and his wife, Maria of Hinsdale, Ill., Dan of Portland, Tom and his wife, Beezee of Marblehead, Mass., and Mary Honan and her husband, Matt Lombardi of North Andover, Mass.; his 10 grandchildren, who affectionately call him Bumpa or Big Jim, Christina and her husband, Matt Swan of Chicago, Jim III of South Boston, Patrick Honan of Hinsdale, Nellie Honan of Portland, Casey Honan of Portland, DJ Honan of Tampa, Fla., Maura and Timmy Honan of Marblehead, Mass., and Matthew and Meredith Lombardi of North Andover, Mass. He also leaves 44 nieces and nephews and their families and brothers-in-law, John Marr of Falmouth and J. Normand Martin of Bangor and sister-in-law, Theresa Morris of Venice, Fla. He was predeceased by his three brothers, Martin, John, and Robert; and two sisters, Margaret Honan Marshall and Helen Honan Gorham.
The family would like to thank Brenda Thomas, our Florence Nightingale to Jimmy for the past two years, as well as Ann Phillips and the devoted staff from VNA who provided support and comfort to Jimmy and his family. The staff at Mercy Hospital made Jimmy’s final days peaceful and comfortable. May God Bless them all.
Visiting hours celebrating Jimmy’s life will be held on Tuesday, August 15, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, August 16, at 10 a.m. at Holy Martyrs Church, the Parish of the Holy Eucharist, 266 Foreside Road, Falmouth. Interment with Military Honors will follow at Pine Grove Cemetery, Falmouth. To view Jimmy’s memorial page or to share an online condolence, please visit www.ConroyTullyWalker.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Cheverus High School, 267 Ocean Ave., Portland, ME 04103; or The Josephine and John Marr Alzheimer's Research Fund, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 116 Huntington Ave., Third Floor, Boston, MA 02116.
Published on  August 13, 2017