James Maron, 90 of Punta Gorda, Florida and South Kingstown, RI passed away peacefully on July 29th surrounded by his family.
He is survived by his wife and soulmate of 67 years, Gloria, their children and spouses Jayne & Anthony Mardo, David & Tracey Whirty Maron, Thomas & Rita Maron; Grandchildren, Vanessa & Edward Pontarelli, Valerie & Nicholas Briggs, Chelsea & Adam Morgan, Moriah Maron, Tahlia Maron, Derek & Maressa Maron, Mackenzie Maron, Sinead Maron, Great-Grandchildren Alana & Collin Briggs, Trey Pontarelli, Jackson and Lydia Maron and brother Joseph Wakim.
James was pre-deceased by his brothers Moron E. Wakem, John Wakin, George Maron and Sisters Rose Yaghoobian and Lillian George and was the loving son of Wakem M. and Nahiah Abraham Moreid Wakem.
He was the founder of Maron Construction Co. Inc. and a Veteran of the Korean War. Those two accomplishments alone do not depict what our father achieved in his lifetime.
During our brief time at Tidewell Hospice Care, we took solace in our moments alone with our Dad. It was at a small chapel in that facility that we found a passage in a book of reflections that is the sum total of our Dad and his core belief that family, above everything else, was the most important part of one’s life Journey. It stated:
“Don’t get overly caught up in your career for family should come first. Likewise, don’t use people in order to achieve your goals. No project, no program, no task should be pursued at the expense of friends or family. Remember in the end, only relationships will truly matter, tend them well.”
James Maron was born from an immigrant family that traveled 34 days from Lebanon to seek a better life and the American dream. He was one of seven brothers and sisters. His Mother & father instilled a work ethic and belief that family was everything.
On a Friday night in the summer of 1952, our mom went out with her lifelong friend, Ann, to Crescent Park in East Providence to go dancing. On that night, she met our father and that chance meeting sparked a seven-decade love affair between them.
Our Dad served 18 months oversea’ s and upon his return, Jim and Gloria were married on September 25, 1954. Both immediately worked to begin their version of the American dream. They moved into their own small apartment in Providence and began what would be their lifelong journey together. Dad worked during the day and went to school three days a week at night. He knew that if he worked hard and tried to better himself, his family would be fine.
They were blessed in 1956 to have their first of three children and that chapter of their journey began. Dad wanted more for his family than what he had. He worked his regular job and took on side construction projects to earn extra money. He wanted a place where his children would flourish. In 1962, mom and dad took a ride down to Narragansett and looked at property. This was eight years after the devasting hurricane of 1954. Nobody bought land near the water at that time. Our Dad thought otherwise as he was a visionary and felt that having a summer home near the beach would be a life changing experience. He was right. So, he bought the land for a whopping $800 and again got to work designing and building our summer home. Our family spent every summer down there, but he insisted that all three children needed to find summer jobs, not because he wanted or needed the money, but because he wanted to instill the same work ethic that he felt would serve us well as we got older.
During our youth, growing up, Mom and Dad were of limited means, but they saved all year to make sure we had a vacation planned somewhere, together, as a family. It didn’t have to be grand, but as long as we were together, that was all that really counted. In fact, Sunday was designated as family day where we would go to church and then go see our grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins and have Mesa (the Lebanese version of appetizers).
Dad had many discussions with Mom that he felt he could start his own construction company and make a go of it. He had a vision that performing work for the Federal and State agencies was both lucrative and untapped. So, at the ripe age of 45, he informed his boss at Piti Construction that he was leaving to start his own construction business. They converted one of the rooms at the Baird Avenue house into an office and thus began another chapter in their lifelong journey.
Early on, Dad was estimator, Project manager, site super and carpenter on the projects. He wore many hats. They landed their first project ($14,000) and as the saying goes, “the rest is history”. With a tremendous amount of hard work, Dad’s vision became a reality. Dad and Mom transformed this small one room construction company in their house into a multi-million-dollar corporation. They had achieved the American Dream.
Most people would be satisfied with what they had accomplished and could just sit back and revel in their success. Not Dad, he worked hard all his life and wasn’t about to let good fortune get in the way of his lifelong beliefs. His entire life was built, not in materialistic items, but rooted in the belief that family was the foundation of all things that were really important in one’s life and that helping family was the core ingredient in measuring one’s success.
In one form or another, we all took our place beside mom and dad in the business. Dad taught us that nothing comes easy and that if you wanted to get ahead, the key to that is hard work and dedication to your craft, while ensuring that you made quality time with your own family. He always said, “your family first”, no matter the circumstance in work or real-life situations.
If our Dad was living today and you happened to strike up a conversation with him on what he felt was the lesson of life he would pass on through his own life experience he would say:
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if he or she were going to pass by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do so without any thought of a reward.”
Our Dad did that his whole life and at the end, his legacy is one of kindness, compassion and love of family.
A receiving line will be held between 9:45 to 10:30AM, followed by a Mass of Resurrection at Saint George’s Maronite Church, 1493 Cranston Street in Cranston, Rhode Island at 10:30 AM on August 11, 2021, followed by a private burial at the Rhode Island Veteran’s Cemetery. There will be a mercy dinner at 1:00PM at Warwick Country Club in which all are invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, donation to the Saint George’s Maronite Church can be made in his name. For a full obituary visit www.woodlawnri.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Maron, please visit our floral store.