JAMES “JIMMY” G. MARCELINE
OCTOBER 23, 1925 – JANUARY 28, 2018
A kind and humble pillar of Harwich
When Jimmy Marceline returned to his hometown of Harwich following World War II, where he was a prisoner of war during the Battle of the Bulge, he shared his new mission and life motto, which he then lived by each and every day.
“I’m going to do something good for someone every day.” That sums up who Jimmy Marceline was, throughout his entire life. He was very strong-minded and passionate about many things, including education, his family, and his community.
Marceline was a treasure to the town of Harwich, thanks to his indomitable spirit and the enormous breadth and depth of services and gifts he shared with the town. He always thought of others first and how he could help make their lives better. Education was especially important to Marceline, and when he returned home from the war, he made sure he received his diploma, as he was drafted when he was a senior in high school. He wanted to make sure all types of students could have an education – not just in academics, but in the trades as well. Harwich cranberry grower Leo Cakounes remembers many a conversation with Marceline about the importance of education. Marceline often said, “Never. stop learning – always have an open mind and want to learn more.”
The Cape Cod Regional Technical High School was extremely close to his heart. That is why he sold the land upon which the school was built to the district at a very discounted price— so young students in our community could have the opportunities of a great trade education.
Marceline was one of the largest landowners in Harwich and was ahead of his time when it came to affordable housing. He would build houses on his land and rent or sell them to young families at affordable rates. Dick Gomes remembers Marceline advising him, “Skippy, you never can go wrong buying land on this Cape.”
The Marceline Salvage Company was located on 14 acres, where you could find just about anything you needed — and Marceline knew exactly where it was all located on the property.
A delightful story shared by Cakounes illustrates Marceline’s spirit: “A well-dressed gentleman, who needed a specific part for his Volvo in order for it to pass inspection, stopped by and asked if Marceline had the part. Marceline said yes and gave him the instructions on how to find it on the property, which was a maze full of treasures. The man asked the cost of the part, and Jimmy said, ‘If you go get it, $25; if I do it for you, $40.’ The man goes to find it, brings it back, and says ‘I’ll give you $20.’ Jimmy grabs it and throws it over his shoulder, and the man says ‘Why did you do that?’ Jimmy replied, ‘Obviously you didn’t want it.’ Marceline was quite the businessman and you never tried to pull a fast one on him. The choices were Jimmy’s way or Jimmy’s way. But if he thought you really were in need and couldn’t afford something, he would give it to you — he was just that generous.”
Longtime Harwich resident Albert Raneo remembers, “All of Jimmy’s activities for the town were so extensive that it seemed a lifetime couldn’t encompass them all, yet his devotion and generosity have helped to improve our town.”
When Jimmy Marceline would arrive at Town Meeting in his Sunday best, people would listen. He made you think and was always an advocate for the little guy.
The Harwich Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Richard Gomes, Albert Raneo, Leo Cakounes, William Galvin, and Sandra Hall for sharing their stories and memories of Jimmy Marceline. Most of all, thank you to Jimmy Marceline for all of your gifts, you are a treasure and the entire town of Harwich is so blessed to call you our own.