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James Harrison “Jimmy” Medding

James Harrison “Jimmy” Medding, 56, of Appleton Park, Ipswich, passed away March 23, 2009, on his 56th birthday, at home in the midst of his family.

Born in Beverly March 23, 1953, the son of the late George and Evelyn (Whipple) Medding, he lived his entire life in Ipswich.  He had Downs Syndrome, and his parents were very involved in the formation and activities of The North Shore Association for Retarded Children during the 1950's and 60's. He was educated in small private classes, and then mainstreamed into the Ipswich Public Schools.  He attended Hogan Sheltered Workshop for several years.  In 1986 he was employed by Ipswich Ford where he worked until his retirement in October 2007.  All of the Ipswich Ford Family embraced Jim, gave importance to his life, and allowed him to develop to more than his potential.  For this his family has been enormously grateful.

Jim was a real and very visible part of Ipswich everyday life.  He was befriended and safeguarded by the Police and Fire Departments, receiving authentic uniform hats which he wore with pride.  He participated in all the town parades, proudly carrying the American Flag, standing at attention during ceremonies. He was also very proud of his FBI cap, and took seriously his roll as an FBI agent.  He was perhaps most recognized on his bicycle commuting to work; directing traffic to allow himself to cross the intersections.  He bought the newspaper daily, and usually a donut and coffee.  In his later years, he stopped at local convenience stores to pick up a sandwich, diet coke and honeybuns, which he often ate sitting on the bleachers at Linebrook Playground.

Jim was a great collector of papers:  newspapers, magazines, old school papers, family letters and cards.  He saved and filed everything.  He also enjoyed traveling with his family throughout much of Europe.  One special trip was a birthday weekend in London several years ago, where he saw the stage production of CATS and he bought his familiar black CATS sweatshirt.   Although in his younger years he was very tight-fisted, he developed an appreciation for the value of money.  He donated the proceeds of his can collection to the building campaign of the Ipswich YMCA, and enjoyed swimming there.  He especially liked  being able to pay his way when the family went out to eat, favorite places being The Clam Box and McDonalds.

Despite mental limitations, Jim was encouraged and allowed by his family, his community, and his family at Ipswich Ford, to live an independent, active and happy life. 

He will be missed by his sister, Tiphany DiRollo, who has been living with him, by his brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Sue Medding of Greenville, SC, and his nephew Jonathan Medding and his family of Zurich, Switzerland.  His smile is unforgettable and will remain our best memory of Jim.

His funeral service will be held Friday 7 pm in the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home, 6 High Street, Ipswich, following a visitation from 5 to 7 pm. Family and all his friends are respectfully welcomed. The family requests memorial contributions be sent to Hospice of the North Shore, 78 Sylvan Street, Danvers, MA 01923, who tended him graciously and respectfully in his last days.

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