Harwich has lost its most revered citizen with the passing of James Marceline. While he passed away on Sunday morning his legacy will be a living testimony to generosity, caring, love of community and the impact of soft-spoken intellect. We know the stories and can follow the trails of contribution he made throughout the seven villages of the community. While he left the town in his youth to serve his country in World War II, suffering the cruelty of war as a POW, such an experience did not embitter him, instead making him stronger in his commitment to those who surrounded him.
Upon returning home he immediately sought to make a difference in the lives of people around him. He was instrumental in the establishment of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Pleasant Lake, making available the land for that school. “There wouldn't be a Cape Cod Tech and we wouldn't be talking about a new Cape Cod Tech in 2020 without James Marceline,” Superintendent Robert Sanborn acknowledged this week. James Marceline saw the need for computers nearly 20 years ago and took the initiative to call a special town meeting and convince voters of the need to look to the future in education. The computer technology program in the Harwich school system would not have received such a sound footing without him.
He always put community first, whether it was speaking on the town meeting floor or helping a family less fortunate. James Marceline can be seen as the father of affordable housing in Harwich, taking a parental role in establishing housing units for residents of the community in need, and providing lower-than-market-rate rentals to shelter many families. He was assisting families in need of housing long before government adopted the term “affordable housing.”
We all knew Jimmy as the affable character who ran Marceline Salvage Company on Route 124. He was easy to talk to, always fair, and a handshake always closed a deal. He was a gentleman with a heart the size of Harwich. “His passing leaves a hole in the fabric of our community that can never be mended,” former selectman Sandy Hall said this week. We concur with those words. Speaking for the entire town, Jimmy, we'll miss you.