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Malletts Bay Boat Club
Lake Champlain Founded 1936


Jim Finch
A true friend!

Jim Finch, a long time member of the Malletts Bay Boat Club died of Leukemia on Tuesday June 13 at age 62. Jim sailed and raced a J24, later a J27 and most recently dominated Lake Champlain's PHRF Class C with his Wavelength 24 'Toad's Wild Ride' for many years. Jim's picture should be in the dictionary beside the word 'friend'. He was a sailor's sailor, a keen competitor and embodied the Corinthian Spirit, both on the water and in life. Jim was very active in the Malletts Bay Boat Club, was a past Board member of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, helped to organize the Regatta for Lake Champlain, and also served on the Race Committee for Key West Race Week in years past. Jim is survived by his wife Marcy Milton, his son and daughter in law Mike & Cheryl Finch, and other family members. He will be missed by all who knew him. -- Jamie Leopold

Jim and I were on the same school bus route in Hamden, CT. That was many years ago, and I was a year younger than Jim, but I remember well his jaunty (is that a good word to describe a kid in grade school?) demeaner and happy-go-lucky attitude about life. I'm sure that in adulthood he was the same. Years later I got to know his brother, Will, and stayed sort of in touch with Jim's doings. I'm glad I did, and sad to hear about Jim's passing. It was great to see this space dedicated to Jim. Thank you. Jerry W. Lewis Green Valley, AZ

Jim, you are an example to us all. A life well lived. I was not close enough to you and Marcy to know of your illness and passing until too late to speak with you. You and I enjoyed many of the same wonderful activities available in Lake Champlain, Vermont, and Burlington. I'll look for you at the end of my race with time. I raise my malt beverage of choice to you. Peter Rowan

Hi my name is Anton. I've known Marcy since we were at UVM together, and we developed a closeness that is like family. After she meet Jim I was so happy for her. When I would call or visit Vermont I looked foward to seeing Jim whether we were going skiing or just hanging out at the house. This is heartbreaking and I'll always miss him.

Jim gave me the gift of words. In 2002, I began to play a word game with him after I discovered that he knew the definition of every word in the English language ( only slight a exaggeration ). "Stump the chump" is the name I gave to the word competition with Jim. I scoured the dictionary to find words that would challenge Jim's memory bank, however, James never failed !! I've continued this competition with high school and college students, whose deficits include word retrieval problems. They love the challenge and like Jim; they are very bright,caring individuals with a zest for bringing words to life. All my love to you Jim, Elaine

I had the pleasure of working with Jim for many years as an Amtrak ticket agent. I remember him as something of a renaissance man with all the various interests that he pursued. When he was speaking of a favorite topic there was an intensity that burned in his eyes. Happy sailing, Jim.


Among his many volunteer and community activities, Jim was for many years a Flynn spirit - a friendly, reliable, caring presence at Flynn performances. Rumor has it that he may have met Marcy here. We're not sure, but we know the two shared so many diverse interests and that he was special. Our hearts go out to you, Marcy, to his children, and his many friends. Andrea Rogers, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

We miss you very much. It's especially hard to think about going for a sail this weekend without you being there. I can't imagine all the firsts; like the first Thanksgiving without you. You were able to turn ordinary activities into extraordinary events: like spaghetti dinners in Fairfax after skiing, taking the train to NY, eating, or was it drinking oyster shots at Grand Central. You were like a magnet that attracted family and friends. We'll be lost for a while. Thanks for the great memories. Love you forever, Nancy and Caitlin Finch

Marcy, You are a special person to me, even though we knew each other light years ago. I am very sorry for your loss. I did not have a chance to get to know Jim. We met briefly in NYC, after 9/11. However, it appears (by reading these messages) you surround yourselves with wonderful people. That says a lot about life and who you are. What full and loving memories you will forever enjoy of Jim, the mountains and the years together on the lake. It canít get better than that.

Marcy - You have always been a special person to me, even though we knew each other light years ago. I am very sorry for your loss. I never got to know Jim very well, (we met a couple of times in NYC). By reading the list of people on this page you both surrounded yourselves with wonderful friends. That says a lot. What a great life, and what loving memories you will always be able to carry. Tim Crowley

All though I had only met Jim a few times through Marcy, who I have know for nearly forty years, I was sadden to hear the news and wish all the best to her and Jim's extend family. Chris Crowley MBBC Steward 1975-1980 Thank you Rod for the information.

As one of Jim's brothers, I had many happy times with Jim - building his house in "Farfax", skiing Smuggs, tramping in the UK and just plain good times. Thank you all for your thoughts and remembrances.

My favorite memory of Jim was at last year's Ladies' Lawn Party. There was Jim, serving the women hors d'oeuvres and drinks, loving every minute of it, and having a great time. Marcy, you are in my thoughts. Kathy Manning

Friend is a very good description of Jim. He was the most naturally nice guy that I've known. He always seemed relaxed and good humored, even under the pressures of sailboat racing. He always had that wry smile, or so it seemed to me. I don't know if he knew about his subtle talent for making and keeping friends. I don't know, really how he did it, but I was always quietly pleased to see him. I wish I'd done more to let him know how much I cared about him in the last few months. He was special. Al Hobart

I will miss you Uncle Jim. I'm grateful for the time I spent with you when I lived in Burlington. I'll always remember those dinners, sitting around chatting, and looking at your old LP's. You were one of the nicest people I've known in my life, and your kindness will not be forgotten - Todd Milton

Marian and I were devastated to learn of Jim's passing. Jim and Marcy sailed for two weeks with us in the BVIs last November which was a very enjoyable two weeks. Back in the 80's Jim sailed with us on our J-24 Wildshot and our J-30 Slingshot for several years. He brought a calming atmosphere to the boat(s). Bob Whyte, Dillon CO

Jeez- I never even have been sailing with Jim and I've only known him for the past 4 years, but I sure did fall in love with him. He was one of the truest and deeply kind people I've known. He touched my heart. Marcy you were both blessed and so lucky to have spent your lives together. My thoughts are with you and I am sending you love. Andria Lovejoy

Jim was a great guy, always a smile and a laugh. My best hopes an thoughts for Mike & Cheryl and Marcy. Phil Gorman

Jim, it is with great sadness that I read of your passing. I have been away from sailing for some time but look back on my time on the lake with all of you guys as some of the best times of my life. You, Marcy and Mike were always willing to take new folks out and teach them the ropes and celebrate and laugh afterwards. At the same time you could compete with the best. Take care my friend. My best to Marcy, Mike and Cheryl. Matt Swartz

It was the Ladies Cup of '84 when I showed up in Shelburne to fill in for a crew member who couldn't make it. I stepped aboard the now ancient J-24 Blue Jay and met a guy who I would come to know had one of the nicest, quietest, fairest natures I had ever seen, almost in spite of being a fierce competitor. Even though we DNFed that day in no wind, Jim and Mark inspired me to embrace a new life upon the waters. A few years later found Jim and me on Harold's J-24 Chinook which we had borrowed to do what became one of the longest Lake Champlain's in club history. Back when we would all turn the corner at Crown Point, and made even longer by three days of little or no wind. As Alan mentioned elsewhere here, when the doldrums of the narrows captured us all, Jim taught me that J-24 winches make excellent bottle rocket launch pads. Until one turned back from five feet away and nearly made us both jump out of the cockpit (don't tell Harold). As many boats quit from sunstroke or shear boredom we pushed on through to the end for a personal victory if not one for the boat. A turn of the page later and I was lucky enough to be unemployed so that Jim and I could go down to Winnipesaukee to pick up Toad and bring her home, only to run her aground on the way to her first race at Chiott. It seems we've all got our Jim stories and we'll be hearing them for years to come. Above all this true gentleman sailor showed us all by living example the driving force behind this need we have to push ourselves and our equipment in a search for excellence; that of simple fun. James, you will be greatly missed. We'll see ya out there Buddy. Bill & Miki Bell

I first sailed with Jim more than 25 years ago in the LCRC Class D. He was, without a doubt, one of the wildest and most enjoyable crewmates on those races. Jim, we'll miss you. Thanks for showing us how to live with grace. Bill Hickson

It is with sadness that I write a good bye to Jim. You led a wonderful life...I remember the happiness when you and Marcy married. Thanks for so many wonderful rides on "Toads Wild Ride" for Sean!!! He learned how to go fast with you! I will take a sail for you Jim. My best and thoughts are with Marcy and Michael. Love Patty

I grew up sailing at MBBC in the Junior Sailing program and every Thursday night race in between. I sailed with Dave Powlison on his J22 and Jim Finch was always the fiercest of competitors on his boat Toad's Wild Ride... what a name! Jim and I were friends and he will always be remembered as a spark and a great sailor. Jim, somewhere you've just set the chute and wind is filling in... -Eli

We will miss you Jim. Carmen Good News Garage

Mike, Cheryl, and Marcy Jim was a kind man who I enjoyed doing work with here at the Sailing Center. He showed me how to do much of the work that I do now down here. I am very sorry for your loss our thought are with you in this difficult time. mike

We are all the better off for having known Jim. I feel blessed. I first met him (and Mark G.) in 1987 aboard their J-27. A madman at the helm and this gentle man on foredeck. What an introduction to a 20 year ride!. Having him crew our J-24 on Sunday one-designs was always a treat. I have his old Blue Jay genoa and will fly #478 with pride and keep it to treasure. Our hearts and prayers are now with Marcy. Charly Dickerson

Marcy, Mike & Cheryl, Our thoughts are with you in this difficult time. As is being said throughout this forum, Jim was a kind and gentle man that always made me feel at ease, with his smile and great sense of humor. I feel very lucky to have crossed paths with such a great person and my life will forever be better for the times we shared. He will be missed, but will forever be with us in our memories. Nicolas, Penny and Adam

Jim was truly one of the best people to work with and be around. He always made me laugh and enjoy the day. He once came to work with two different shoes on and waited until lunch to go home and change them! A quiet man with a big heart! Kathy @ Good News Garage

I've sat here for a long time reading these great tributes and trying to figure out how one can make sense of this senselessness. I find myself thinking about the seasons -- how they progress, come then go and change from one to the next. How many seasons we have all shared together, how many have passed and are gone, but the bonds and friendships and memories we reap over the years build and grow and continue forever. We had so many laughs and so much fun and so many fond memories shared with Jim. It seemed like they would go on forever. And it is crushing and bitter that we learn that they will not. But only in a way. For just as the seasons once past aren't forgotten, so too will the many memories and good times we shared with Jim make him live on in our hearts forever. We miss you Jim. Tris Coffin.

Marcy, I remember you telling us one Monday night about the story and you and Jim meeting. It was so loving and sweet. I am so sorry. From myself and all the women that you have spent countless hours helping to be better sailors we send our deepest condolences. Linda

I will miss Jim - what a guy. He always had time to talk, drink a beer and really enjoyed life. He is the essence of MBBC. Patrick Zachary

Thursday 6/15, 4:30 p.m.: I both dread and long for this particular Thursday afternoon, as we join together in one of Jim's favorite pastimes, sharing this ache and deeply-felt sorrow. I am SO glad we will be together today. Personally, I've been lucky to be friends of Jim's friends, to have his competent and generous help on Repose, to race with him during last year's Mayor's Cup (one of Toad's Wilder Rides!) and know what it means to feel safe in the cockpit under heavy winds and crazy mast-to-water angles. Dear Marcy, and those blessed to be his closest friends, we understand the devastation of your loss; you have our support and understanding and friendship, both now and later. Those of you who you worked so hard to launch Toad when you did, you have our intense respect and appreciation - Jim must've taken such comfort from your devotion. It is a peculiar thing to say out loud, but Jim shares my birthday, and took his physical leave on my husband's; with both our children just now moved to China for at least a year, I will take the love you've all expressed for Jim, and the love he's expressed for Marcy, and wrap that around my own home as his gift to us. I am sure he will appear to many of us in many different ways, today and always. G-d bless, Alison Pechenick

I didn't know Jim as long as most of you, but I always felt very relaxed and happy when he was around. I went to see him at the hospital, just before they let him go home. Jim intimated that he felt there was no hope - he was very calm...gentle smile...he seemed to be in a place of acceptance. Jim was more concerned about Marcy than himself - he said he loved her very much. I will always have fond memories of Jim...he could always make me laugh...what a gift! Thanks Jim! (Jennifer Jany)

that picture is the way i remember the boat club, messing around on a boat. he will be missed! katy lesser

We are broken hearted to hear of Jim's passing. What a kind and gentle man. I'm afraid it won't be quite the same at MBBC without his presence. Our thoughts are with you Marcy and with all of those that loved Jim. Hold on to all of those fine memories... Kim and Bill Adair

I raced a few times with Jim. Great, great memories. But my fondest memories, and when I think I glimpsed Jim's inner spirit, were when we moved raceboats back and forth from Malletts Bay to Shelburne or the reverse, quite often just the two of us. Being on a boat with Jim was relaxing, hilarious, and occasionally surprising. If he didn't have a reason to smirk, he would create one. I will forever miss that smirk, but I will try to smirk more myself, to honor Jim. Mark Shearer

Last year, one of my wife's cousins lost a battle with cancer and I remember looking at his picture, right after he passed away, and thinking that the person in the picture looked too alive, too youthful, too here to be gone. It just doesnít seem possible that sailing season is upon us and Jim canít share it with us. We were all blessed to have known Jim. I know I will think of him often in the months and years to come, and I trust his memory will help me be a little more patient, a little more caring, and little more generous, as he was so consistently. My heart goes out to Marcy, and I too want to give her a hug. Tom Moody

Jim, you will always be with us in our hearts. I am laughing and crying as I re-live some of the memories documented below. My first sailboat races were on Jim's J-24, Blue Jay. I didn't realize until many years later how lucky I was to have started racing with Jim. My thoughts and prayers are with you Marcie and Mike and family - Todd Wulfson

I can't believe you are gone, Jim. My heart is broken. Thank you for your kindness, and your interest in our family, and for taking time to talk with me at MBBC events. The Mayor's Cup will never be the same without you. Please look down on us from heaven occasionally. We will think of you. We will miss you. Jennifer Stone Gonzalez

Jim was a kind and gentle soul. When I recall serving with him on racing related committees some years ago he was frequently the person who could get the rest of us to see the value of a compromise solution. Frequently he was the one to present a solution but always it was presented in a humble way that made us all think it was our own. I'll miss your friendly smile on Thursday nights, Jim, but will always remember your friendliness when I see Toad. Jeff Allen

What a terrific picture of Jim, just the image entrenched in my mind. Jim is content, happy to be just sitting on a boat drinking a beer, and his sharp wit is clearly shining through that smile on his face. Having Jim as a friend is easy. His engaging conversation made you feel welcome and wanted. But most of all his wit and sense of humor are unmatched. Always capable of getting you to laugh or think or both. He will be missed by all of us Ken Grillo

My memories of Jim consist mainly of knowing that he never let an unkind word pass his lips, was always smiling, and was as steady as they come. I'll miss him, but I will always remember how I could be a better friend from his example. -Randy Rowland

What can I say about Jim...? My first sailing experiences in Vermont were with Jim and Mark on Barcode. I had a lot of fun that summer. Jim's relaxed, irreverent style always made him fun to be around. He was a multi-talented guy, great sailor, great cook, carpenter, singer, hockey player, movie star and good friend. He never seemed to have a bad day. I will miss him greatly. But maybe we'll all be able to sail together one day in the distant future and Jim will meet us at the dock of the Fiddler's Green Yacht Club with a cold one.

Dear Jim, You were truly one of the good guys. Having you leave us so soon has broken my heart. We loved you buddy. Paul Beaudin

What a gentle kind man! So thoughtful and generous to all. He must be sailing with the wind in his face where he is now, but he leaves a big hole in our hearts. Marcie, I want to hold you and hug you. I am sending you all my strength and caring. Susie Heitner

I loved Jim so much for his sense of humor, his kindness to all, his upbeat look at life, his love for Marcy, and of course his huge pleasure of sailing anywhere anytime he could. All the fun we had on our Monday night football club, it will never be the same without Jim. Jim Finch A TRUE FRIEND forever. Paul O. Boisvert

Jim was one of the first people I met at MMBC when we rafted (this seems to be a trend) up to Toad on the Fourth, four years ago! From that day forward, he has been one of my favorite friends. Jim shared my affinity for music--Concerts in the Meadow at Von Trapps will forever be special. We will always save a spot on the blanket for you, Jim! Katrina Ouellette

There are some people who just make you feel good. Jim was like that. He was fun to be around, always took the time to ask how things were going and genuinely made you feel at home around the club. I will miss his smile, wit, laughter and friendship. My thoughts are with Marcy and Mike in this time of hardship. I hope they can find comfort in words and stories we post here in our admiration of Jim. Bill Rogers

We will miss the picture: A rare hot summer day, sitting on our moored boat, glancing across the fairway to see Jim puttering around on Toad's Wild Ride, with Marcy reading in the sun. A quiet gentleman who knew how to endure adversity with grace and an inspiring confidence. Mike & Susie Heitner

We will miss the picture: On a rare hot summer day, sitting on our moored boat and glancing across the fairway to see Jim's lanky form puttering around Toad's Wild Ride while Marcy reads in the sun. A quiet charming gentleman who knew how to endure adversity with strength and an inspiring confidence.

Jim was a good friend... We will all miss him

Jim was a good friend to many of us. He had a way of putting people at ease and making them want to converse with him. It's going to be difficult not having him around MBBC and in our lives. Rod Carr

This picture was taken last June before the first Thursday night race of 2005. Jim was getting Toad ready and is smiling because, some how, he had just gotten me to give him my last beer. My earliest memory of Jim was when I had Chaos. It was 4th of July and Toad was rafted on one side of me with Mike Jackson's T-10 on the other side. Jim had LOTS of bottle rockets. At some point, he decided he it would be a good idea to light an entire block of rockets (without removing the wrapper). The rockets went up about 5 feet, turned 90 degrees, flew over my boat and went down the hatch into Jackson's boat. That was the fastest I ever saw Mike Jackson move. Jim was not allowed to light any more bottle rockets that night. Eternally youthful, Jim, you will be missed. Alan Ouellette

I will remember Jim as a kind and thoughtful sailor. A competitor, sure, but always fair and followed the rules. He was social and considerate of others and always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Jim was a true asset to MBBC. Jim will be missed but not forgotten. Here's to you Jim! Randy Whitney

Jim was my friend
A quiet gentle man
A fierce competitor
Soft spoken
Generous to a fault
I will miss him deeply
Mark Gardner


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