James R. Birge

October 26, 1925 ~ May 24, 2022 (age 96)


James Raymond Birge, 96, of Stratford, CT, beloved husband of 71 years to Jane Nicholas Birge, passed away on May 24, 2022 with his loving family by his side. Born on October 26, 1925, Jim was the son and one of seven children of the late Raymond B. and Marie Graham Birge. He is survived by his wife Jane and six children, their spouses, fourteen grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews: Susan Birge of Stratford, CT and her children Sarah Verrelli and her son James, Meg and Francis Verret and their daughter Eva James, and Mike Verrelli and his wife Halley Morrissey and their children Theo and Gwen, and Hans van der Giessen; Stephen and Nancy Birge of New Hampshire and Georgia and their children Erin Birge, Bonnie and Peter Bergeron and their son Henry, Craig and Bernadette Strobl and their daughter Maddi, and Hannah Strobl and her daughter Letha; James and Maureen Birge of Milford, CT and their children Ryan James and Alice Birge, Elizabeth (Bitty) and Chris Ritchie and their children Emma and Tyler James, Tim and Allison Birge and their children Gavin, Michaela, and James; David and Susi Birge of Doolin, Ireland; Mary (Betsy) and Mike Curran of Stratford, CT and their children Molly and Pat Murphy and their children Ellie and Clare, and Emma Curran; and Joan Campbell of Stratford, CT and her children Christine Campbell and Jack Campbell. He was also survived by sister Nancy Goodrich and brother-in-law John Stadtmueller.  Jim was predeceased by family members Marie and Bill Minahan and their daughter Kathy, Robert and Barbara Birge, Monsignor George (Bo) Birge, Jane and Dick Greenwood and their son Bill, Ellen Stadtmueller, Bob Goodrich, and granddaughter Trisha Verrelli. Jim grew up in the Academy Hill neighborhood of Stratford and raised his family there as well. He attended Center School and Stratford High school until junior year when he enlisted in the Navy during World War II. He served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. He was so proud to be part of the Greatest Generation, living through the Great Depression and defending our county during World War II.  Jim was Quartermaster on the U.S.S Hodges which led the U.S. fleet into Manila Bay and the retaking of the Philippines.  He was selected by his Captain and sent to Officer Candidate School where he became an expert in Naval navigation.  The U.S.S. Hodges, which had been hit by a kamikaze attack, continued to stay in battle through the end of the war, whereas twenty-four sister ships that were part of the fleet had been lost.  He remained close to his friends who served in the war with him – a special bond had been formed when they left their families for 2 – 3 years at 17 years old. Upon returning from the war, he completed high school, attended Saint John’s Prep in Danvers, MA, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Saint Anselm’s College in New Hampshire. Jim was part of the second generation of the family business, The R. B. Birge Company in Bridgeport, CT. He served as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Founded by his father, Raymond B. Birge, Jim and his brothers and brothers-in-law grew the company to a thriving business which is now managed by the third generation of the greater Birge Family. Committed to Saint James Parish and the Diocese of Bridgeport, Jim held leadership positions in fundraising and the establishment of Saint Joseph High School in Trumbull. He remained an active alumnus at Saint Anselm’s College and was proud to have three of his children attend his alma mater. Jim served on the Board of Directors for the Stratford Visiting Nurses Association.  Jim was above all, a family man. He was happiest at family gatherings – summers in Guilford, CT, Lake Sunapee, Lake Winnipesaukee, Pleasant Lake, Woodbound Inn, boating, ski trips, cook-outs, and playing with great-grandchildren. He will be remembered as a compassionate and gentle man with a strong faith, who deeply loved his family, was a caring friend and neighbor, contributed to the success of the R. B. Birge Company, and served his country with honor.  Rest easy, Jim/Dad/Gompoo/Bert/ Pete, your work is done. Those you touched will carry on your legacy. The family expresses their heartfelt appreciation to Eloise Jenkins, who gave loving care to Jim over the years.  In addition, the family is grateful for the compassionate care provided by Constellation Hospice and Caregiver Agency. In lieu of flowers and in the spirit of Jim, perform a random act of kindness, call a friend and tell them what they mean to you, visit a shut-in who may be lonely, give compliments, have a voice for those who are not heard, treat everyone with respect and dignity, and forgive someone.  A Visitation will be held at Galello-Luchansky Funeral Home, 2220 Main Street, Stratford, CT on May 27, 2022 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on May 28, 2022 at 11:30 AM at Saint James Church, 2070 Main Street, Stratford, CT. Burial in Beaverdale Memorial Park Cemetery in New Haven, CT will be private.

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24 Hour Viewing
May 27, 2022

4:00 PM
Galello-Luchansky Funeral & Cremation Services
2220 Main Street
Stratford, CT 06615

Funeral Mass
May 28, 2022

11:30 AM
St. James Church
2070 Main Street
Stratford, CT 06615

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