James M. McNiff Sr. of Monument Beach, who had a long career in education, died August 3 after a period of declining health. He was 78.
He was the husband of Gail L. (Temple) McNiff for 51 years.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Thomas P. and Helen (Doyle) McNiff, he was raised in South Boston.
He received a bachelor's degree in teaching from Boston State College and a master's degree in education from Boston College. He also studied for his doctorate in education at Boston College, but the needs of his family took precedence over completing his dissertation to receive this final degree.
Mr. McNiff worked for the Boston Public Schools for more than 40 years as a teacher, administrator, and family adjustment counselor.
During the summer, when school was not in session, he was the assistant manager at Bay View Camp Ground on MacArthur Boulevard, affording his family summertime on the Cape. In 1987, he and his family settled in Bourne the year around.
Mr. McNiff was interviewed in July 1997 by the Enterprise for an article on campgrounds on the Upper Cape. At the time he had been at Bay View for more than 20 of his 30 years there. He considered it an out-of-the-ordinary campground, more like a camping "resort," he said, detailing many amenities on the premises for campers at its 432 sites and the nightly entertainment such as that week's reggae and calypso band. He enjoyed seeing the "regulars" who would return each year and stay "right through the season'' as well as visitors from around the world: "Last year we had people come from 19 countries other than the United States and Canada,'' Mr. McNiff said.
After he retired from the Boston School Department in 2000, Mr. McNiff determined he was not quite ready to take a break and returned to the classroom as a substitute teacher with the Bourne, Falmouth and Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School systems.
Mr. McNiff was a former executive board member for the Boston Teacher's Union and a candidate for city councilor in the City of Boston. He also volunteered for many committees and was an active member of the Democratic Party, at one point serving on the Bourne Democratic Town Committee and participating on several presidential campaigns over the years.
In his earlier years he was an active member with the Knights of Columbus and worked as a camp director with the 4-H program in Sandwich.
In addition to his wife, he leaves his children, Kelly McNiff of Bourne, Amy Richards and her husband, Benjamin Richards, of San Diego, California, and James M. McNiff Jr. of Marshfield; three granddaughters, Caelan McNiff, Madison Richards and Abbey Richards; a brother, Joseph McNiff of Weymouth; and other family.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers Thomas J. McNiff and John Patrick McNiff.
Visitation is from 4 to 8 PM Wednesday, August 7, at Nickerson-Bourne Funeral Home, 40 MacArthur Boulevard in Bourne.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, August 8, at 10 AM at St. Margaret’s Church, 141 Main Street in Buzzards Bay.
Burial is private.