James R. Calkins Obituary

James Roy Calkins passed away peacefully at his home at White Horse Village in Newtown Square on June 13, 2018. He was 89.

Born on January 3, 1929 in Cohoes, N.Y., he was the son of Harry A. Calkins and Beatrice Roy Calkins. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1950 with a B.S. in chemical engineering in 1950 and earned his master’s degree, also from MIT in 1951.

At MIT, he raced sailboats on the Charles River and sang in the glee club. After graduation, he moved to Pennsylvania for a job with Sun Oil Company, where he worked for 41 years, first as a chemical engineer at the refinery in Marcus Hook and then transitioning into software development in Philadelphia in the early days of computers. He retired from Sun Oil in 1992.

Jim and his wife Barbara (Lukens) were married at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church in 1957 and lived in Wallingford, Pa., for 45 years, where they raised their three children. They moved to White Horse Village in 2003. Some of Jim’s favorite activities at White Horse were singing in the Village Singers and helping other residents with their computer problems.

Jim was an Eagle Scout, and when he moved to Swarthmore after college served as Assistant Scoutmaster and merit badge counselor for many years. He carried the values he learned in scouts, particularly integrity, honesty, and service to others, throughout his life.

A member of the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church since the 1950s, Jim served as a deacon and ushered at services for more than 40 years. In his later years, he enjoyed gardening at the church with H.O.E., or Holy Order of Environmentalists, and also volunteered at the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College.

Jim loved outdoor sports, particularly downhill and cross-country skiing, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, and sailing, and passed that love onto his children and grandchildren. As a young man, he competed in whitewater canoeing races. He was a life member of the Buck Ridge Ski Club, serving as reservations chair for the Buck Ridge Lodge in West Dover, Vt., for decades, and spent many wonderful vacations there skiing with family and friends. He continued skiing into his seventies.

After his retirement in 1992, Jim and Barbara enjoyed spending summers at their cabin on Lake Willoughby in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He was a member of the Westmore Association, where he was active for many years on the trail committee, maintaining the hiking trails on the five mountains surrounding the lake.

Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Barbara (Lukens); his three children, Robin C. Hipple (James) of Oakford, Pa., Thomas R. Calkins (Suzanne) of Goffstown, N.H., and Charles H. Calkins (Hyun-Young Park) of East Longmeadow, Mass.; five grandchildren: Benjamin R. Hipple, Christopher J. Hipple (Ida Li), Samuel J. Calkins, Olivia Park Calkins, and Anna Park Calkins; and a niece and nephew James and Debra Egloff. He was predeceased by his brother, Donald L. Calkins.

Jim will be remembered for his quiet strength and patience, his ability to come up with a clever comment at just the right time, and the kindness and respect he showed to all.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 23, at 11 a.m. at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, 727 Harvard Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081. Interment will be at the Memorial Garden at the Church.

Memorial contributions may be made to Swarthmore Presbyterian Church at the above address.

Arrangements: Rigby Harting & Hagan Funeral Home, www.haganfuneralhome.com.

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