James (Jim) J. McDowell of Sparta (Lake Mohawk), N.J., passed peacefully on Monday, March 23, 2020, at Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice in Fredon, N.J., after a long illness. He was 73.
He was born on March 4, 1947. Jim spent the majority of his youth growing up in the Freehold area of New Jersey. After high school graduation, Jim found himself serving our country in the U.S. Army as a medic stationed in Germany. After completing his military service, Jim attended William Paterson College, earning a degree in education with a focus on special education.
After many years of teaching special education in several New Jersey school districts, Jim retired to pursue his outdoor passions. In addition to teaching, Jim was also a former Sparta realtor and an antiques and collectibles dealer.
As an avid hiker, Jim had a deep love for the outdoors and hiking. Almost daily, Jim could be found each afternoon in the Sparta Glen, hiking and socializing with local residents. Along with the Sparta Glen, Jim had a special appreciation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, where often he could be found wading and walking the river at the Walpack Bend.
His passion for music was a lifelong pursuit, sometimes sharing his experiences at Woodstock or an insightful dissection of song lyric. Jim will forever be remembered as a compassionate soul who always knew how to infuse some humor and levity into any situation, and always reminded us, “And a River Runs Through it."
Donations in Jim’s memory may be made to Father John’s Animal Shelter, 50 Father John’s Way, Lafayette, NJ 07848. Arrangements are under the direction of the Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, Newton, N.J.