James Fary, Founding member, former President and Vice President of the Neighbors of the Northwest Branch, died of cancer and other ailments in Silver Spring, Maryland earlier this autumn at age 73. He is survived by his wife Nicole, sister Marian, daughters Simone and Jackie and four grandsons, who remember him as a loving and generous father and grandfather.

James was born in 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. In his second year at the University of Illinois he worked a Catholic social justice group that worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to register African-Americans to vote. He met his wife Nicole while earning a law degree from Catholic University in Washington DC, where they decided to settle and raise a family. Jim started his professional life teaching political science and American studies, first at Dumbarton College, then at Saint Mary’s College of Maryland. He then became a civil servant, primarily at the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining and finally at the EPA’s Superfund department that facilitated the cleanup of toxic wastes. While there he was certified as a Master Facilitator from the USDA graduate school.

In retirement Jim was a passionate environmental activist whose contributions, in addition to his long tenure with the Neighbors of the Northwest Branch, included serving as the Conservation Chair of the Montgomery County Sierra Club, Montgomery County delegate to the Anacostia Watershed Citizens Advisory Committee, and certified “Mud Buster” (trained by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to evaluate and report sediment runoff from construction sites). We have attached examples of Jim’s work in the latter capacity.

James will be remembered for his intelligence, sense of humor, generosity, commitment, and passion for environmental causes. He enjoyed supporting environmental issues, gardening, hiking, and recycling old appliances for scrap metal with his grandsons. Should you wish to express your condolences, you may contact his daughter Simone Fary ( James is now resting in peace. Love will live on.

Matthew Henson Trail’s Poor Environmental Design

Sediment Pollution on the ICC Montgomery County, MD

Jim as a “Mud Buster” identifies sediment pollution at a construction site.