Obituary: James O. Bixby, 87

by | Oct 11, 2020

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James Orbert “Bix” Bixby was born to Alphious Orbert Bixby and Margaret Flavia Breton on August 20, 1933, in Vassar, Michigan, and quietly passed away on Oct. 9 in East Greenwich at the age of 87.

Growing up in a large family, Jim was friendly, outgoing, and played practically every sport in high school. He was also an avid outdoorsman – camping, fishing, and hunting. Though he didn’t do too well with the latter – having shot his own toe off at the age of 16.

Right after graduating high school, Jim joined the Navy to proudly serve his country. While stationed at the Alameda Naval Air Station in San Francisco, he met Nancy Casler in a whirlwind romance and six weeks later they were married in Las Vegas. 

After Jim got out of the service he and Nancy moved to Jim’s home state of Michigan where he started college. Shortly thereafter they had their first child, Cynthia Susan (Cyndie). The young family then moved to Rhode Island so Jim could continue his education at the University of Rhode Island, where he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Physical Education.

Making Rhode Island their new home, Jim and Nancy had their second child, Lon Casler. Sadly, like a lot of new families, their marriage didn’t last and Jim and Nancy soon divorced.

Jim put his degree to good use and made a career as a high school physical education teacher, basketball, football, and swim coach. It was here that he met his second wife, Pauline “Carol” Gorman, and became a stepfather to her two children, Gail Kevin and Lynn Emette.

It was a true, long-lasting love. Jim and Carol were married for 54 years until her passing in February, 2020. They enjoyed each other’s company, and led a full life – travelling, sailing, and golf. Golf was a huge part of Jim’s life. And he collected anything golf – books, posters, memorabilia, and antique golf clubs, amassing a collection of thousands of items. He spent a lot of time on the course as well, golfing numerous times a week – rain or shine. There was even a golf tournament named after Jim – The Bixby Open.

Jim always found time to be creative with painting and drawing, and in his later years you would never find him without his art pencils and coloring books.

Throughout his life he was friendly and welcoming, loved to meet and talk with people, and he always brought a warm smile wherever he went.

Jim was a friend to many, a loving husband, and everybody’s favorite Uncle and Dad. He will be greatly missed and loved.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents; his brother Ernie Bixby; his sister Maxine Bixby; and his wife, Carol Bixby. 

Jim is survived by his children, Cyndie Santopietro and Lon Casler Bixby; his step-children, Gail McSweeney and Lynn McSweeney; his grandchildren, Kevin McSweeney, Jordan McSweeney, Nicholas Mendillo, and Gabriel Mendillo; his brothers; Dave Bixby, Al Bixby, and Danny Bixby; and many nieces, nephews.

Funeral services will be private.

You can find the obituary at the Hill Funeral Home website HERE.

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