James W. Gorman ’54 died on October 15, 2023, in Cumberland Foreside, Maine.
(The following was provided by Portland Press Herald in October 11, 2023:)
James Warren (Jim) Gorman, Sr., of Cumberland Foreside, ME, died peacefully at his home on Sunday, October 15th, surrounded by his family. He was 91. Jim was born in Portland, ME, to Barbara Bean and John Thomas (Jack) Gorman in the spring of 1932.
Jim attended Portland area schools and was a member of the Class of 1950 at Cheverus High School, where he stood out as a student and an athlete. He was also an active member of the Boy Scouts of America, earning the rank of Eagle Scout, the Scouts’ highest honor. Jim attended Bowdoin College where he played football and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. Midway through his college years, he opted to enlist in the U.S. Army where he served for two years. Upon earning an honorable discharge, Jim came back to Maine and transferred to the University of Maine at Orono, where he earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering.
Jim married Maureen Margaret Sargent of South Freeport, ME, in August of 1957. Maureen was the love of his life. Her artistic spirit and energy coupled with his intellect and reserved nature were a perfect match. They recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. Jim would often tell the story of seeing his future wife at church, including the fact that he got no credit for attending Sunday Mass because he could not stop staring at Maureen during the service. Eventually, he worked up the courage to talk to her and they were rarely apart ever since.
Jim and Maureen shared a love of the outdoors and adventure travel. Some of their favorite trips included fly fishing in Alaska and scuba diving in the Cayman Islands. They traveled the world together with memorable trips to Japan and Europe. Jim also loved to hunt, whether for whitetail and birds in New England or pronghorn in New Mexico. He also cherished his annual fishing trip to Megantic with his brother, Leon.
Together, Maureen and Jim raised four children, Jim, Jr., Bill, Barbara, and Shawn, always prioritizing time in the outdoors with the kids. This included many summer camping trips, with everybody piling into the family station wagon (with a small camper in tow) to go fishing and hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire or across the border to Canada.
As the grandson of Leon Leonwood (L.L.) Bean, Jim might have pursued a career in his family’s business, but he opted to put his engineering degree to use at Western Electric in North Andover, MA. Jim’s work focused on the modernization of telephone systems. Most notably, he was published for his work on switching equipment, receiving recognition for his innovative efforts in helping the industry transition from analog to digital.
Jim joined L.L.Bean’s Board of Directors in 1974, where he guided decades of decisions around company growth in alignment with L.L.Bean values. He also chaired L.L.Bean’s Audit Committee since its inception in 1995 and retired from Board service last year upon reaching his 90th birthday. Jim’s five decades of L.L.Bean service were celebrated at a company event in June of 2022 which was attended by the L.L.Bean family, Board of Directors, and company leaders. In addition to his governance roles at L.L.Bean, Jim was a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Maine at Orono and Cheverus High School.
Throughout his life, Jim was active in his community. He coached his children’s sports teams, volunteered at his church and the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Kingston, NH. He was also a member of the Scarborough Fish & Game Association.
Philanthropy and giving back were also central to Jim and Maureen’s lives. Over the years they have supported many national and local non-profits. Most notably, a recent million-dollar gift to Mercy Hospital in Portland, ME. In addition, they founded the James & Maureen Gorman Engineering Scholarship at the University of Maine. They were lifetime members of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where they purchased and restored an eighteenth-century home which was then gifted back to the foundation.
One of Jim’s proudest accomplishments was his trip to Nepal where he participated in the 1990 Peace Climb. The trek was sponsored by L.L.Bean to mark the 20th Anniversary of Earth Day and brought climbers from the United States, China, and Russia together to summit Mount Everest. Jim, along with his brother, Leon, and dozens of other climbers, brought global awareness to conservation by removing trash from the mountain left behind by previous climbers.
In retirement, Jim and Maureen loved spending time with family in Maine as well as traveling to their favorite places in Colonial Williamsburg, VA and Sanibel Island, FL. Like his brother, Tom, Jim was a licensed pilot with a passion for flying. He was also an avid motor sports enthusiast, competing in road rallies across New England. He loved sports cars, particularly his Morgan, which he had custom built in England and still owns today.
Most would describe Jim as a gentle giant. He was a towering man with the kindest demeanor and a brilliant mind. He had nothing but love and admiration for his wife and his children, grandchildren, and great-granddaughter. He lived life according to his values of integrity, respect, perseverance, and kindness. To say the world lost a special man would be an understatement.
Surviving Jim are his wife of sixty-six years, Maureen Gorman; four children, James (Jim Jr.) Gorman and his wife, Terri Lorenz; William (Bill) Gorman and wife, Suzanne Gorman; Barbara Gorman; Shawn Gorman and former wife, Cari Goodrich Gorman; 10 grandchildren, Maura Gorman, Courtney Schleicher, William (Billy) Gorman II, Devan Gorman, Padraig (Paddy) Gorman, Robert (Bobby) Schleicher, Samantha Gorman, Owen Gorman, Amelia Gorman, and Chloe Gorman, and great-granddaughter, Addie Lou. Jim was predeceased by his parents and brothers, John (Tommy) Gorman and Leon Gorman, as well as his son-in-law Robert Schleicher.
The family would like to thank Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and their oncology team, particularly Dr. Marc Garnick, without whom Jim would not have been able to live such a long and fulfilling life.
The family would also like to express its gratitude to Northern Light Hospice and Home Instead, particularly Jim Eldridge, for the amazing care they provided in Jim’s final days.