James Dunbar McPherson passed away May 30, 2020 after a protracted illness. James D. McPherson was born near Philadelphia in 1931, the son of Scottish immigrants. After graduating from Philadelphia City Central High School, he was drafted into the Army in 1951, where after basic training; he was selected to attend Officers Candidate School (OCS). He graduated as a Second Lieutenant and served the rest of his enlistment in South Dakota. After his discharge, James attended Westchester College in Pennsylvania where he met and married his first wife Barbara Bally. Their marriage lasted over 20 years during, which time they had and raised two children. After graduating from Westchester with a degree in mathematics, he received a Masters degree from Penn State University, also in mathematics.
After receiving his Masters, James moved to Annapolis to take up a teaching position at the U.S. Naval Academy. He continued his academic career at George Washington University. For six years, he ran a successful general contracting firm, building many houses in Hillsmere and other parts of Annapolis. He then accepted a position with ARINC Research.
James and Barbara were early members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis (UUCA), where they were heavily involved in the Civil Rights movement and were founding members of the Annapolis YWCA Dialog Program, which fought for better race relations in Annapolis for over 20 years. James was also instrumental in building UUCA’s current building. He donated literally years of his life finishing much of the interior work in the building on Dubois Lane, which still stands as a testament to his many hours of labor.
James had many interests and talents and was involved in many organizations and projects, but perhaps the endeavor nearest to his heart was the founding of the Annapolis Burns Club. James learned his love for the Scottish National Poet from his Paisley born father and spent his life reading, researching, and reciting the poetry of Robert Burns. He was the first American to ever be invited to give the Immortal Memory speech on Robert Burns’ birthday at the famous Dollar Burns Club in Clackmannanshire, Scotland.
James is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Ann McPherson and his son, James D. McPherson, Jr. and by his beloved wife of 37 years, Elina Aguero McPherson, who he met and married in 1982. A memorial service will be held in the future when circumstances allow.
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