Obituary of Hugo James
Retired University of Bridgeport biology professor and nature enthusiast Dr. Hugo A. James died peacefully at his home in Trumbull, Connecticut, on November 1, 2018. He was 88 years old and had been suffering from Parkinson's disease and a weakened heart for several years. Hugo was the adopted son of Albert and Christina James. He is survived by his Partner Martin Ulmers' children: Margaret Ulmer, Christie Wiersma, John Ulmer, James Ulmer and their families; also, his beloved dog Jack. Other survivors include his lifelong friend Bruce Smith, caring Conservator Mike Martinetto and many cousins from the Shannon and Honychurch Families.
A resident of Trumbull his entire life, James' teaching career spanned over 35 years primarily in the fields of biology and parasitology, earning him a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship from Iowa State University, and a Faculty Research Grants from the University of Bridgeport, among many honors. He was a member of over a dozen professional societies, among them the American Society of Parasitologists, the American Microscopical Society, Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society, and the national honorary society of research scientists, Sigma Xi. He also served as president of University Professors for Academic Order.
James received his bachelors and master of science degrees from the University of Bridgeport in 1957 and 1958 respectively, and in 1958 joined the University as an instructor of biology. Fifteen years later, after earning a master of arts degree from the University of Virginia, he became a full professor and academic advisor, teaching popular courses in anatomy and physiology, botany and genetics, and general zoology. For graduate students, his courses included parasitology, helminthology and ornithology.
In the early 1950s, during the Korean War, James enlisted in the U.S. Army and was among the junior military personnel based at Camp Pendleton in California, where he was in charge of the camp's KP duties. It was a skill he later developed into cooking professionally for students and faculty during summer teaching assignments.
But it was his work at Iowa State University that was in many ways to change the course of both his professional and personal life. In 1968 he received his is Ph.D. at ISU in Parasitology under the guidance of his zoology professor and mentor, Dr. Martin J. Ulmer. This became a relationship born of mutual respect and accomplishments – one which would ultimately, a decade after his Ph.D., grow into a lifelong and loving partnership that centered on the Trumbull home they built together over the span of the next ten years with their own hands; overlooking the site of the old quarry which they named "Idlewild". The two also traveled together taking trips to Canada, Europe, Italy, India and Nepal. Whether hosting neighbors for a barbecue, family for the holidays, canine lovers or music makers, Idlewild's weaving of these worlds never failed to embrace and welcome those who visited this truly bucolic "cabin in the woods."
For over three decades at Idlewild, James also pursued his passion for training four beloved black Labradors – Carbon, Shadow, Pepper and Jack. in numerous local and regional dog shows. He trained all his canine companions to provide emotional comfort to the elderly and infirm. He was a much sought-out visitor to local nursing homes and care centers throughout southern Connecticut. By his family and extended family, Hugo will be remembered for his hospitable spirit, and his love and care for his life partner, who passed away in 2008; his willingness to embrace and help others of his community who had also been outsiders; his working of the land and his concern for the resources of this planet; and his generous good will to all creatures, great and small.
A memorial gathering will take place on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at the Abriola Parkview Funeral Home, 419 White Plains Road, Trumbull from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. For more information or to leave an online condolence, visit us at www.abriola.com.