James M. Benson Jr., 65, died suddenly, June 29, 2010, at home.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 27, 1944, he was a son of James Sr. and Arlene (Betz0 Benson. Jim graduated from Nichols School in 1962, attended Hamilton College, where he was a member of the Emerson Literary Society, graduated from the University of Rochester, and received a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in biology in 1974.

He was a career professor at the University of Maine, Bangor campus, where he taught anatomy and physiology for more than 25 years. He retired in 1998 and moved to Rockport. He had enjoyed a summer home in Camden for many years prior.

Throughout his life Jim was passionate about sailing and loved his dogs. His childhood included sailing at the Buffalo Canoe Club. Later he and his brother participated in Operation Sail 1976 aboard the Tall Ship Gazela of Philadelphia. He also enjoyed coastal cruising on Penobscot Bay.

He had been married to Nancy Hamlin Vogler for 10 years and Susan Volpe Benson for 20 years. He was known as a “tinkere,” a man who could fix anything and/or make something out of nothing. A charismatic and caring individual, he volunteered at Penobscot Bay Medical Center, the animal shelter in Thomaston, and taught sailing with Atlantic Challenge in Rockland.

He was predeceased by his father, James M. Benson Sr., a decorated World War II veteran, who died in 2003.

Jim is survived by his mother, Arlene B. Benson (Mrs. Robert Eckis), of Williamsville, N.Y.; a brother, Richard B. “Rick” Benson, and his wife, Totney, of Westport, Conn.; a nephew, RB Benson, of Philadelphia; his best friend of 48 years, Bill Leavenworth, of Searsmont; his good friends, Charles and Amy Grunder, Peg Pickering and Jim Field, all of Rockport; and Mary Winchell of Camden.

Private services are planned in the near future in Rockport and Buffalo. Contributions in his memory may be sent to the Humane Society of Knox County, P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841.

Arrangements are with Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland.

To sign Jim’s online guest book, please visit obituaries at bchfh.com.