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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Remembering a Beloved Neighbor: Jim Desmond

By Marina Kiriakou -


Jim Desmond, a longtime resident of Mamaroneck, lived a life brimming with creative spirit and profound contributions to his cherished community.  Since settling in the Village with his wife Katherine and two daughters, he became an active and valued member in the local area.  His warm presence and friendly nature endeared him to everyone he met, leaving an indelible mark on the place he held so dear.


Jim's commitment to the environment was evident in his role as a founding member of Mamaroneck's first Coastal Zone Commission, where he worked tirelessly to protect and preserve the village’s coastal environment.  His efforts paved the way for the development of the Local Waterfront Rehabilitation Program (LWRP) which became the model for waterfront management up and down the East Coast and was later adopted on the West Coast.


An avid boater, fisherman, and lobsterman, Jim enjoyed exploring Long Island Sound waters, always returning to his home port, Mamaroneck Harbor.  He realized a shared vision with his wife of creating the Marine Education Center at Harbor Island Park.  Their determination and hard work paid off, and by 2015, the center became a reality, empowering both visitors and residents to become environmental stewards of Long Island Sound marine life.


Jim's influence extended well beyond environmental endeavors.  He devoted his time to diverse pursuits, including serving on the PTA, playing for the Elks Club softball team, documenting on film and in photographs the Kids After School Art Program at the Community Action Program (CAP), and coordinating lively annual book sales alongside his friend John Hoffstetter, Sr. at the village library.


Jim's friendly and welcoming nature was evident to all who passed by his home. Always found sitting in the front yard, he shared laughs with passersby and generously gave away bountiful vegetables from his garden.


In a poignant twist of fate, on the day after Jim's passing, the stately, 200-year-old copper beech tree that had been deemed unsafe was removed from the front lawn of his property.  The removal of this glorious and prominent tree seemed to symbolize Jim's resilience and rootedness in the community, adding a somber touch to the narrative.


To honor Jim Desmond's extraordinary life and his lasting contributions, donations can be made to the Friends of the Marine Education Center (MEC) at Harbor Island Park HERE.


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