James McNamara of Sag Harbor died peacefully at home on January 12, 2023. He was 73.
McNamara was born in Southampton, the oldest of 7 children born to his parents, the late Hazel and Bill McNamara. He graduated from Southampton High School and attended Marist College, but left college to protest the Vietnam War, the day after the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970.
Jim was an excellent athlete, a star pitcher and basketball player. In high school, with his brother Terry as catcher, he pitched a perfect game with 18 strikeouts. In 2014, he and his teammates were honored to be inducted into Southampton High School's inaugural Hall of Fame as a member of the Mariners varsity basketball team. Their 61-game winning streak remains the longest on record in Suffolk County.
In college, Jim was offered a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Instead, he headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands, playing semi-professional ball with the Saints of St. Croix in the highly competitive Caribbean League. In 1974 he participated in the Caribbean Games in Santo Domingo, along with athletes from 23 countries, pitching against the gold medal-winning Cuban National Team.
In St. Croix, he was asked by Modern Bride magazine to stand in for a model who was ill. Jim then signed with the Ford Modeling Agency and was featured in a wide range of national print and television advertising campaigns from 1975-1981.
Jim returned home to the East End and worked in the restaurant business for over 30 years, including Billy’s Triple Crown, Fellingham's, C.J. Thorne, and World Pie. He met and married Chris, his loving wife of 35 years, in Bridgehampton and they raised two daughters, Catherine and Julia, whom he loved dearly.
Jim was passionate about life’s simple pleasures, focusing on home, family, and friends. He reveled in being a dad, in cooking for his family, cheering for the Rangers with his youngest, watching as his girls ventured forth as young professionals, and seeing his eldest marry. He was the kind of dad who got up extra early on birthdays to make sure they were broadcast on WLNG. He loved rock and roll, American history, and great movies. He loved his travels with Chris in Italy early in their life together and could recount these adventures in detail to the end of his days.
He was predeceased by his brothers, Mickey and Gary, and by his sister Nina. He is survived by his wife, Chris, and his daughters: Catherine Kruel of Sag Harbor and Julia McNamara of Brooklyn; his brothers, Dan McNamara of Water Mill, Terry McNamara of Southampton and his sister, Donna Andreassi of Water Mill; and twenty-four nieces and nephews.
A wake will be held at O’Connell Rothwell Funeral Home in Southampton on Thursday, January 19, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. There will be a Mass at The Queen of The Most Holy Rosary Church in Bridgehampton on Friday, January 20, at 11:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations to East End Hospice would be appreciated by the family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James McNamara, please visit our floral store.