James T Harper, Jr.

1967 ∼ 2020

James T Harper, Jr.

MARSTONS MILLS- James “Jay” Harper, Jr. (53) was that rare person who helped everyone he met feel as if the sun had just come out and that they were welcomed and appreciated. He died on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

Jay was born in Chicago, IL, on February 16, 1967, to Ina and James T. Harper, Sr. He was the middle child and only brother to Joan and Jean. Adored by his large extended family, and too many friends to count. Jay was funny, incredibly smart, extremely kind and formed life-long, deep relationships. Jay graduated from Luther South High School in Chicago and attended Carleton College in Northfield, MN where he studied French, played football and wrestled. For over 25 yrs he worked as an Optician until his eyesight failed him.

Jay met his wife of 22 yrs in Chicago, when Kristen moved there to attend graduate school. Her best friend Danielle, had a crush on his best friend, Maurice Lee, and in attempting to get them together, Jay and Kristen met and became immediate companions. They shared a love of musicals, reading, sports, horseback riding and caring for others. He said he knew he was special to Kristen when she asked him to take care of her cats when she went away. He’d tell people that he may be first in her life but they had seniority. Jay was a devoted husband who willingly followed Kristen to Florida and then to Massachusetts, leaving his beloved family, to support her ministry. He used to joke that Kristen married him for his family and because he was so portable. As the spouse to a minister he would laugh at least once a year about being called the minister’s wife.

Jay loved his nephew and niece, Josh and Melia Readus. He missed being near them and directed his attention to youth by working with his church youth group, teaching sexuality education, mentoring at Big Brothers Big Sisters, supporting the Barnstable/Yarmouth Leo’s Club and attempting to make every young person he met feel respected, worthy and important. He took his role as godfather to a number of young people seriously. He poured his love into people, young and older, shining his inner light to everyone with whom he came into contact. Jay loved corny and racy jokes. He never lost his boyish humor and you couldn’t help laughing with him. He also could make any story funny; a family trait. He had a brilliant mind and memory and soaked in history and extraneous facts like water. Kristen was always asking, “How do you know that?”

He served twice as President, as well as treasurer and secretary, of the Barnstable/Yarmouth Lions Club and was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship for his committed service. He was a member of the Unitarian Church of Barnstable’s choir where he found great joy and shared his musical gifts with the congregation, often playing his trumpet on Christmas Eve. One of Jay’s defining characteristics was the effort he put into his relationships with those he loved. He spent hours on the phone daily with his parents, his sisters, his niece and nephew, his cousins and his friends. He kept in touch and kept people in touch with one another. His light has not gone out. It lives in everyone he touched in his short but significant life. Five years ago, Jay and Kristen took in a 15 year old mini schnauzer named Syd. Jay and Syd fell deeply in love with one another and kept each other going through the medical challenges they both suffered. Blind and mostly deaf, Syd is still standing at the door waiting for his daddy to come home.

Memorial Visitation will be held on Wednesday, September 16, from 4:00-6:00pm at the John-Lawrence Funeral Home, 3778 Falmouth Rd, Marstons Mills. Donations in his memory may be made to the Barnstable/Yarmouth Lions Club and the Unitarian Church of Barnstable’s Music Fund. For online condolences please visit www.johnlawrencefuneralhome.com.

Visitation

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

John Lawrence Funeral Home
Address & Directions

Donations

Barnstable/Yarmouth Lions Club and the Unitarian Church of Barnstable’s Music Fund.

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James T Harper, Jr.

1967 ∼ 2020

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