Born in Oakland, Calif., Aug. 8, 1931, James O’Haverty wore many hats, very stylishly, during his nearly 80 years on this good earth.

In his early 20s it was a cowboy hat, on a ranch in Lake Tahoe, when the Kingsbury Grade was still an unpaved road. During the Korean War it was a baseball cap, when James played on the Army team. Stationed at Lewis-McChord Army Base in Tacoma, Wash., he was also a late-night disc jockey on The Armed Forces Radio Network, “The voice of information and education.” In the late 1950s it was a racing helmet. James went on the race circuit with a modified Sprite and a microphone, hosting “Concourse” — a radio program of 15-minute interviews with race drivers — for KJZZ in San Francisco.

When James moved to New York in the late 1960s, he was recruited by City Walls, a co-op of New York artists exploring environmental art. He went on to form Environmental Design Associates, and became a well-known specialist in planning and executing large exterior murals in New York, Montreal, Toronto, Cleveland and Detroit. The Detroit project, funded by Detroit Renaissance, included EDA’s largest mural on the First National building in downtown Detroit: an Al Loving cube painting, 360 feet high and 90 feet across. EDA’s final project was turning the construction of a continuous-poured concrete skyscraper into a painting by artist Nassos Daphnis, with sidewalk barriers by Tania, on New York’s Times Square.

In 1972, James and his wife Elizabeth moved to Maine and incorporated Whitfield, Scott and Company, an interior mural and high-end residential painting company, which numbered the Wyeths among its regular clients.

In 1998, and again in 2002, James was the Democratic candidate for District 62, restructured as District 44, a seat currently held by Rep. Andy O’Brien.

James remained active in the Democratic Party until his health began to fail, and he never lost his intense interest in politics, always championing the underdog.

James died peacefully at Quarry Hill in Camden Feb. 9, 2011, surrounded by the love and friendship he so valued and enjoyed.

A celebration of James’ life will be Friday, Feb. 25, at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Camden.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Good Neighbor Fund, Lincolnville United Christian Church, P.O. Box 288, Lincolnville Center, ME 04850; or the Camden Rockport Animal Rescue League, 146 Camden St., Rockport, ME 04856.