James Lawrence Burgess

September 24, 1955 ~ July 19, 2020 (age 64)

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Jim died at his home in North Yarmouth after a hard fought battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his family and friends.  Born in Bath,Maine to Charles L. Burgess,Jr. and Dolores R. Burgess. He was one of three sons. Childhood summers were spent enjoying wonderful times at their family cottage on the New Meadows River.  Along with his father and brothers, Jim worked at the family business at  Burgess Markets in Bath and Brunswick. 

 Jim was a standout athlete at Morse High School participating in football, baseball and wrestling. Jim excelled at wrestling and was most proud when he became Maine State Champion in 1973 for his weight class in his senior year.  

Jim attended the University of Maine at Orono graduating with a degree in Accounting and Finance. While at the University, Jim was very active in Student Government and was elected Treasurer by his peers. Along with many of his childhood friends, Jim was accepted into the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.  In his senior year he was named a Senior Skull, a senior honor society for academics and all around campus contributions.  Jim graduated in 1977 and worked for Loiselle Accounting in Bangor in public accounting.  He passed his CPA exam in the spring of 1978 and then went on to attend Bentley College and graduated in 1980 with a Masters of Science in Taxation.  While in MA, Jim worked for T.C. Edwards in Boston in audit and public accounting as well as working at Star Markets in Waltham.        

Jim returned to Maine in late 1979 to open Burgess Market, a convenience store  in Yarmouth and became the third generation to carry on the family business.  In 1980 Jim settled in Cumberland and began his family raising  three sons-Christopher, Matthew and Andrew.  Jim owned and operated several convenience stores in the area including Yarmouth, West Cumberland, Pownal, North Freeport and enjoyed collaborations with his father and brother at the original Burgess Market in Bath, ME.  

Like his father, Jim had a keen eye for a good deal and enjoyed the hunt for real estate that could benefit from key improvements.  Jim interests moved from owning and managing convenience stores to property management.  He owned many properties in Southern Maine over the years.  Jim was known for being a very smart and frugal man who liked doing things his way.  He helped many of his tenants who needed a hand up, not a hand out.        

One day in 1997, Jim picked up a golf club for the first time.  He developed a passion for the sport and it became an important part of his life and he especially enjoyed playing with his three sons any chance they could get together.

Jim and Meredith divorced and a new page was turned in Jim’s life.  Jim met Mary Ellen Morgan in 2006 and their mutual interest in Real Estate, hiking and travel brought them together.  Mary Ellen would accompany Jim when he would go to look at properties and eventually she became his real estate broker. They were a team.  Jim and Mary Ellen married in 2008 at their home in Yarmouth.  Jim continued purchasing and renovating properties and helped his sons Christopher, Matt and Andrew find and purchase their first homes.  Jim was very proud of his sons and their accomplishments in life and their growing families.  Jim especially enjoyed his two grandsons Archer and Graham.  He was their “Grumpa”.  Jim so wanted to have the opportunity to take his two grandsons fishing when they were older.  Jim and Mary Ellen enjoyed potluck dinners with their neighbors or getting together with the family to watch the Patriots play.  Jim was known for his chili and focaccia bread, which became regular requested items on the menu.        

Jim battled a stage 4 cancer diagnosis for 4+ years and through it all his focus was to try to maintain a positive attitude and not bring other people down.  He didn’t want cancer to define his life.  On Father’s Day, Jim was out on the greens playing golf with his sons.  This would be the last time Jim would play the game he loved with his boys.  Jim attended a July 4th gathering with family and it was apparent that his health was declining rapidly.  He passed on July 19th with friends and family present shortly after receiving his last rites.  That was his final wish. 

Jim was predeceased by his father Charles L. Burgess, his brother Richard and nephew Heath Burgess. He is survived by his mother Dolores Burgess and his wife Mary Ellen Burgess. His three sons and their wives; Christopher Burgess wife Erin Miner Burgess and son, Archer of Westbrook. Matthew Burgess and wife Lauren McFarland Burgess and son Graham of Scarborough and Andrew Burgess and wife Eleonor Rio Burgess of Gray. His younger brother Craig Burgess and his wife, Anita Godin Burgess of Brunswick. Much loved nieces and nephews and his former wife Meredith Strang Burgess.

A private celebration of his life will be held at the family cottage on the New Meadows River.  Arrangements by Desmond Funeral Home in Bath.

Donations can be sent to Corporal Works of Mercy, c/o Craig Burgess, 48 Cottage Lane, Brunswick, ME 04011 or to Gosnell House, 11 Hunnewell Rd, Scarborough, ME 04074.


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