Jim MacAlister, our Junior year class president, died of cancer on January 17. His funeral was held at the Lansdowne Presbyterian Church on January 26.
Here is a tribute by his grandson, Tyler Woodruff, 4th grade, that describes his life better than I could.
A Tribute to Pop
James (Jim) MacAlister was born on July 27, 1936 in Darby, Pennsylvania. He was raised in nearby Colwyn. When he was young, World War 2 was ending. He said the war was a big deal. All little boys wanted to be soldiers. He would pull his red wagon around the neighborhood and collect newspapers to sell to get money. He would swim in Darby Creek for fun. He loved his bicycle, a Schwin that had a working light on the fender. A funny fact is he wore knickers and long stockings to school. Throughout his older youth he worked at Horn & Hardart’s and was paid poorly but could eat all he wanted. And at Dewitt’s department store carrying mink coats from the stock room.
In high school he played football and baseball and wrestled. His favorite subjects were Art and History. School was very important to his parents so he did well to get into a good college. He thought he may want to be an Architect.
Pop went to the University of Pennsylvania. He was in the ROTC there. He enlisted in the Army where he was an Officer and worked with tanks. He had his own tank platoon.
After his tour was over, he wanted to live at the Sea Shore for a while. He lived full time in Ocean City while he worked for a bank. His father became sick, and he moved home. He worked for most of his career at a bank called Girard (in finance) He met Nana there at the bank. They had two children, my Mom Joy and her sister Faye.
Pop never invented anything, however he builds things in order to do repairs or home improvements. My Mom remembers him building his own scaffolding to work on their roof. He built all the shelving in their house (including a secret storage place where they put jewelry and valuables.)
I like hearing the stories about the Army from Pop. He had given us many things like a shell casing from a tank, and his gas mask. He was very brave and strong when he was young. I’d like to be a young man like him.
Yeah, kid, he would be a good one to copy. Take it from one who knew him.
It all sounds familiar. I collected newspapers for the war effort. I wore knickers to school. My bike was a Schwin with a light on the fender.
Thanks to Judy Young for passing this on to me and to Joan Anderson March for passing it on to her.