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James  F Sawaya

Obituary for James F Sawaya

January 2, 2021
Rockland, Massachusetts


James Ferris Sawaya (Jim) of Rockland, Massachusetts passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 2 at the age of 95. He was ten days shy of his 96th birthday. Jim was born in Boston's South End on January 12, 1925 to Lebanese immigrant parents, the late Joseph and Yamna (Shwirey) Sawaya. He was predeceased by his three younger siblings—Ferris Sawaya, Mitchell Sawaya and Selma "Tootsie" Sawaya. Jim grew up on Shawmut Ave, until his parents bought a rooming house on Union Park. It was in this house on Union Park that Jim learned the many "Mr. Fixit" skills that he would use later in life.

Jim attended the Rice Elementary School in the South End and then went on to Boston English High School, where he played football. While in high school, a friend introduced him to his future wife, Dorothy "Dottie" Sheehan, who was also from the South End. The two of them loved going dancing. They loved to dance so much that later in life, they would be referred to as "Fred and Ginger". In 1942, Dottie attended his senior prom and graduation. Not long after his graduation, Jim enlisted in the United States Army. As a member of the 78th Army Corp of Engineers Combat Battalion, Jim was sent to the Philippines and then to Japan. While he was serving in WWII, Dottie waited for him back at home.

About a year after his discharge from the Army, Jim married Dottie on June 22, 1947. They lived in a few apartments in the South End before buying a three family block house on Union Park Street. Their 3 children were raised in that house. The family would live there until 1974, when they moved to Rockland, Massachusetts. In Rockland, Jim and his wife attended Holy Family Church. Jim became a member of the Abington VFW and the Rockland Knights of Columbus. Later he joined the Rockland VFW. After he retired, he worked for various funeral homes in the area. Of all the jobs he had in his lifetime, working and meeting people at funerals gave his life a new purpose. Jim had a way about him that would draw people into an uplifting conversation at a time when he knew they needed it.

In August of 2019, after 72 years of marriage, Jim's wife Dottie passed away. He missed her terribly but he kept himself going by spending his mornings at the Rockland Senior Center having coffee with his friends, daily Facetime visits with his grandchildren and great- grandchildren, Saturday trips to Walmart and Lowe's with his son Jimmy and daily visits from his daughter June.

Jim had three children - Jane (Sawaya) O'Connor who passed away in August 1988; June (Sawaya) Manning and her husband, Tom, of Rockland; and James J. Sawaya also of Rockland. There are 6 grandchildren surviving him – Kellie O'Connor, Jimmy O'Connor, Sinéad (Manning) Parsons, Deirdre Manning, Tommy Manning and Derek Sawaya. He also has five great grandchildren – Cassandra Logan, Tristan Doherty, Landon O'Connor, Hunter Parsons and Mason Parsons. Jim is also survived by his sister-in-law, Vivian Sawaya, and many loving nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project:

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, services for Jim will be private. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

Arrangements By

Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home

135 Union Street
Rockland, MA 02370
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