Dr. James Barclay

Oct 05, 2018

Dr. James Alexander Barclay (Parson Jim), March 21, 1934, to Sept. 28, 2018.  Jim died peacefully at home after a long period of declining health. Born in Berkeley, Calif., Jim spent his youth in the Bay Area and Santa Rosa. He was truly a Renaissance Man. Claiming to be older than his 15 years, his first of many jobs was working for the National Forest Service in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He graduated from San Jose State University, became a Navy Test Pilot, an entrepreneur, graduated from seminary, and became a pastor at the age of 42. In 1976, he moved from California with his “combined” family to Hampton, N.H., where he became pastor of the First Congregational Church while also earning a Doctorate of Divinity at Andover Newton Theological School. He was awarded the distinction of Pastor Emeritus (the only one in its 380-plus-year history) of the Hampton church. After some business ventures and raising his family he came to Searsport where he and Ann have resided for 30 years. It was often asked, “Is there anything you haven’t done?”

To encapsulate this man whose spirit and enthusiasm made for a full and adventurous life, his family members attempted to describe him in one or two (thousand) words: funny and fun, storyteller, courageous, traveler, creative, intelligent and ingenious, inquisitive, perceptive, animal and nature lover, outdoorsman, thoughtful, spiritual, industrious, persistent and loving, constantly evolving, game for anything with a childlike sense of play, a visionary and a leader. A friend and member of Searsport Congregational Church (pastor from 1989-2002) described him as a Pied Piper; turning a small church camping trip to Baxter State Park into an annual event with several church families and leading a team of volunteers to make full-size tepees for the children’s summer program.

As parson, chaplain, therapist and leader, he touched lives from coast to coast with his stories, kindness, compassion, ability to handle a crisis, his humor, and his wisdom. He was a recipient of the President G.H. Bush "1000 Points of Light Award" for his volunteer work in the community with his Puppet Program.

Among all of the “doing” he would have quiet moments of prayer practicing lifelong to "Be here now." Hearing these tributes, he would likely shrug modestly, and chuckle with a gleam in his eyes.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Ann Barclay; seven children: Mark Watson, Bruce Barclay, Dean Watson, Kirsten Webb, Katrine Barclay, Scott Watson and Eric Watson; their spouses; several grand and great-grandchildren. If you wish, in lieu of flowers, please make donations to Searsport First Congregational Church. At Jim’s request, a family service will be held at a future date.

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