James Otis Ervin, 1934 - 2015

Ervin Obit Pic

James Otis Ervin, 81, of 177 Cook Street, Auburn, died Friday, November 20, 2015, at the Hospice House in Auburn following a courageous battle with glioblastoma, a brain cancer. He also had prostate cancer.   Born in Woodstock, Maine, on February 9, 1934, he was the son of Leroy and Marguerite Dudley Ervin.  A graduate of Corinna Union Academy, Class of 1952, he went on to the University of Maine, graduating in 1956 with a degree in electrical engineering. While there, he became a brother in the Phi Eta Kappa Fraternity.  While in college Jim enrolled in the Army ROTC.  He served as active duty and reserves from 1957 to 1962.  He worked for Bell Labs and Raytheon as an electrical engineer for 17 years. While at Raytheon, Jim and his first wife Pat lived in Marlboro, MA.  It was here that they began their family.  At work, he was involved in developing missile defense systems. In 1972 he made a mid life career change and moved back to Maine where he became a math and science teacher.  He taught in the Auburn School Department, mostly at Auburn Middle School, until his retirement in 1998.  He was involved in many extracurricular activities with his students.  He was the advisor to the Student Council, Math Team, Odyssey of the Mind, and ran the student book store.  He was dedicated to his students, in the classroom as well as outside the classroom. To his Algebra students, he was known as “The Algebra God.”  He served on numerous curriculum committees, was a team leader, and traveled throughout New England explaining the benefits of the middle school model versus the junior high model. Throughout his life, he served as a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and, was an active supporter of the Dempsey Center. In 2005 he founded the Maine Coalition to Fight Prostate Cancer with four other survivors. Never one to shirk from a battle, Jim traveled throughout the country attending conferences on prostate cancer. Each time he returned to Maine, he used his knowledge and connections to advocate for more funding for prostate cancer research, support groups for men and their partners, and for early screening for prostate cancer. A member of St. Philip’s Church, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, he was involved in the annual Christmas By The Lake Fair, taught religious education and in 2007, receive a commendation from the Office of Youth Ministry, Diocese of Portland for his dedication to youth and youth ministry.  In addition to his family, his passions were gardening, woodworking, camping, working with stained glass, and watching birds in his backyard. He is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, the former Mona Philippon, of Auburn, whom he married on January 7, 1977, four sons; Paul and wife Nava of Boston, MA, David and wife Ellen of Madbury, NH, Joseph and wife Nanae, of Stow, MA, and Timothy of Lewiston. A daughter, Sabrina and husband Bill Alaimo, of Auburn, eleven grandchildren; Ariel, Natanel, Alana, Thatcher, Kana, Jim, and Matt Ervin, Jennifer and Amy Brown, Sabrina Donohue and husband Sam, and Abby Alaimo, one great-grandchild, Oliver Swasey. Other survivors include his first wife, Pat Clement of Auburn, sisters-in-law, Maxine Ervin of Corrina and Lillian Ervin of West Palm Beach, FL, his in-laws, Emelio Philippon and Rolande Ayotte, of Lewiston, Dana and Jodi Philippon of Lisbon Falls, Gina Philippon of Damariscotta and numerous nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his faithful dog Sebastian who never left his side during his illness.

Funeral Notice

ERVIN, James, 81, of Auburn, died in Auburn on Friday, November 20, 2015. Services will be held St. Philip’s Church on Saturday, November 28, at 12 Noon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Maine Coalition to Fight Prostate Cancer, c/o Ole Jaeger, Treasurer, 1132 Five Islands Road, Georgetown, ME 04548 or The Dempsey Center, 29 Lowell Street, 5th Floor, Lewiston, ME 04240. 

Guest Book- Please feel free to share your memories and condolences with the family

© Gerald Burpee 2016