James McGuinness Obituary: Did He Earn a Degree From Northeastern University?

After a long illness, the Honorable James H. McGuinness, Jr., of Austin, Texas, who used to live in Newton and Cambridge, MA, died quietly on February 17, 2023. Janet (Gill) and James H. McGuinness brought him to Medford, MA.

He attended Northeastern University, Suffolk Law School, and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government to get his degrees. At the time of his death, he was an active member of the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement.

Jim’s mother was an artist, and she helped him become interested in fine art and the performing arts. These things and his strong sense of right and wrong pushed him toward the law.

After law school, he worked for the Boston Mayor’s Office of Human Rights, started and ran Deer Island Legal Services, a prison law practice that helped thousands of poor inmates, and practiced law independently.

In 1984, Governor Michael Dukakis put him on the Industrial Accident Board as an Administrative Judge. In 1996, Governor William Weld put him on the state’s District Court.

Jim had been going to used bookstores for a long time, so he put together a collection of first-edition books on fiction, history, politics, and the sea. His mother’s family’s hard life on the Aran Islands in Galway Bay and when they moved around as fishermen, sailors, and officers made him love the sea.

Armageddon in the Arctic Ocean,” an incredible true story by Paul G. Gill, just came out with the part of this history that his maternal uncle told. Jim had two sailboats that he loved sailing along the coast of New England. He also rented sailboats in Australia and the Caribbean.

Jim was also interested in rare cars and motorcycles his whole life. For his 65th birthday, he rode his cafe racer Triumph from coast to coast. Jim leaves behind his two kids. Maeve Crowley McGuinness’s father, Ian Harwood McGuinness, is a senior engineer at Tesla in Austin, TX.

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Bailey Gill McGuinness, his daughter, is a doctor at Cleveland, Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic. She has three kids: Cyrus Gilbert, Hailey Rose, and Leo Katriel McAlas.

He is also survived by his brother Michael, who lives in Greenland, NH. His nephews, James, and Justin McGuinness, live in Illinois and Ohio, and his niece Caitlin Drew lives in Massachusetts. His brother Peter, who lived in Muscatine, IA, died before him.

On March 14 at 10:30 a.m., there will be a memorial mass at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Newton, MA. After that, family and friends will have lunch together.

People who want to remember Jim could donate to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284, instead of flowers.

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