In Memory: Thomas James

Dear Laurentian Community:

I write to share the news that Dr. Tom James, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, died on February 29.  Tom served the University for 33 years, from 1978 until his retirement in 2011.

Tom received his B.A. from St. Lawrence University, and his M.A. and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University.  Before coming to St. Lawrence Dr. James was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Delaware. Tom taught Principles of Sociology, Communities in Crisis, Collective Behavior and Social Movements, Sport and Society, Quantitative Methods, and Senior Seminar.  He also served a term as Associate Director of Computer Service (at the time, the department responsible for academic computing).  As a Visiting Research Associate at The Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware and a consultant, Tom contributed to the academic and non-profit communities on matters of questionnaire design, sampling and statistical analysis.  His areas of specialization included disaster behavior, collective behavior, sociology of sport, survey research methods, and formal organizations.

Tom’s colleague Associate Professor Abye Assefa told us that “Tom’s passing is tragic news…[Tom] was an invaluable mentor of unreserved support, profound compassion, and fair-minded criticism.  I truly miss him, cherish his memory, and honor his legacy.”   Associate Professor Leah Rohlfsen shared “Though retired, Tom was around in Piskor when I started at St. Lawrence.  He would cheerfully pop into my office (his former office) to provide advice and encouragement.   I truly appreciated his support and wisdom at a time when I was overwhelmed with the transition from graduate student to professor.   He was an important mentor for me as well as for countless students who took his classes over the years.  I always enjoyed seeing Tom and hearing stories from his years of experience on campus.  Condolences to his family.   

Tom and Margery, who also retired from St. Lawrence, were married 53 years.  Lynn and I send our sincere condolences to Margery and Tom’s sister Rose Mary, and to all former colleagues and alumni who admired Tom’s scholarship and teaching. 

Services will be held privately. Lawrence Funeral Home & Cremation Services have been entrusted to Tom’s care and arrangements. Memorial Contributions are suggested to Canton Fire & Rescue, 77 Riverside Drive, Canton, NY 13617.