Obituary: James B. Compton, 89

by | Jun 30, 2020

James B. Compton, 89, of East Greenwich, passed away peacefully on June 29. He was the beloved husband of Ellen (Cheney) Compton for 58 years, father to Russell, Peter, and Adam, father in-law to Alexandra and Sarah, and “Opa” to grandchildren Jack, Charlie, Sebastian, Francesca, Henry, Sophia, and Susannah (and to many extended family and friends). The family would like to extend a special thank you to Michelle for her dedicated care, assistance, and friendship these past few years – you are “wonderful.”

Born in Cambridge, Jim got to know and love the streets of Boston which included working at the Harvard Coop. Jim served in the Korean War immediately after high school, and developed a great fondness for airplanes starting with his maintenance work on the F-94 Starfire.  After graduating from Bowling Green State University, he followed his longing for the west coast and found in San Francisco a great set of friends, a love of Dungeness crab & wine, a sporty red Alfa Romeo, and met Ellen. Early on, with Russ and Pete as youngsters, Jim and Ellen had an extraordinary opportunity to live and work in Greece for 2 years, allowing them to travel. Jim later enjoyed his work as a Levi salesman for 15 years in the New England region, covering fun places like the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket at the height of the Levi 501 popularity (and don’t forget the ‘cords’ in every possible color). He served as the President of the EG Little League, and volunteered in multiple capacities for the 1977 EG tercentenary.

In ‘retirement,’ Jim got his master’s degree in adult education from URI, learned to solo in a glider, and volunteered extensively for Save the Bay, Aging 2000, and especially the mentoring program in EG schools. He was a life-long learner of new things, and consummate reader of nonfiction, spirituality, and philosophy.

Jim enjoyed a great life. From an early age, he seemed committed to the cultivation of life-long relationships, and he clearly achieved that goal by welcoming new extended family and devoting time to friendships. He showed countless people how to eat lobster, delved in the garden, dealt poker, loved swimming at Skaneateles Lake, and danced whenever possible. In that spirit, we will now celebrate together.

Burial and all services will be private, however the family is organizing a collation open to friends and family, with details to be shared later via word-of-mouth. Contributions are welcome in Mr. Compton’s memory to Hope Hospice & Palliative Care of RI, 1085 North Main Street, Providence, RI, 02904 (

Visit Hill Funeral Home HERE for full obituary and online condolences.

EG News Obituary Policy: We post obituaries relevant to our readers. If you would like to share an obituary, send it to [email protected]. Put “obituary” in the subject line.

Stay up to date – sign up for our newsletter:


Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chuck Cheney
Chuck Cheney
July 1, 2020 1:56 pm

My Uncle Jim was a fun loving guy who enjoyed and lived life to it’s fullest. RIP Jim Compton, we will all miss you.

eric winkler
eric winkler
July 1, 2020 6:55 pm

A great neighbor. He and Ellen always so happy and outgoing. I remember getting the Levi samples from him to wear to EGHS. Saw him a few times over the years, ageless enthusiasm.


Newsletter Sign Up

* indicates required


Latest Streaming