TOPSHAM — James Darden Rives, Jr., 88, of Topsham, Maine, died Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 in his apartment at The Highlands. He had been well and independent up until that day, and passed quietly in his own bed, as was his wish.

He was born October 31, 1923 in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of James Darden and Grace Sebrell Rives of the Tidewater region of Virginia.

The son of a Naval Officer in the Medical Corps, Jim traveled extensively in his younger years. He had lived in Norfolk, Virginia; Great Lakes, Illinois; San Diego, California; Manila, Philippines; and Shanghai, China by the time he was thirteen. Taking Dollar Steamship Line ships on the return home, they visited Kandy, Ceylon ( now Sri Lanka), passed through the Suez Canal, saw the Great Pyramids, and traveled through Europe before returning to the Main Line of Philadelphia. This experience always informed his world outlook, his love of the Navy and Marine Corps, and of military and naval history.

After Pearl Harbor, Jim entered the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1946. That Class graduated a year early in June of 1945 due to the war. He joined USS North Carolina (BB-55) in the Pacific and was a division officer assigned to a battery of 5" guns. North Carolina was patrolling the waters off Japan as the Japanese surrendered to Allied forces in September, 1945, ending WWII.

Seeing that the future of warfare was favoring aviation, Jim attended naval flight school in Pensacola, Florida. He flew helicopters and patrol seaplanes in Panama, Norfolk, and Iwakuni, Japan.

James and Joan Melville Piltz, of Newport, Rhode Island were married at Trinity Church in 1950. They formed a family of three children, Darden, Kathy, and Lynn, and continued the nomadic Navy life by being stationed in Norfolk; Louisville, Kentucky; Coronado, California; Iwakuni, Japan; Newport, Rhode Island; and finally, in Brunswick, Maine. LCDR Rives retired from the US Navy in 1965.

In that year, Jim began a 23 year second career in materials management at Hyde Windlass Company and Bath Iron Works, in Bath, Maine. He retired from BIW in 1988.

Jim was active in the YMCA in the ‘ 60’s as the Chairman of the Building Committee which oversaw the expansion of the YMCA at that time. He was the scoutmaster of BSA Troop 99 for several years. For many years, while in retirement, he volunteered at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. He also was actively involved with Grace Episcopal Church in Bath for a number of years.

In November 2010, after 47 years as residents of Bath, Maine, Jim and Joan moved to an independent living apartment at The Highlands in Topsham, Maine.

Jim is survived by his wife, Joan, who currently resides at The Highlands, Topsham, Maine, their three children, five grandchildren, and one great grandson. He is also survived by his cousin, Aline Langston of Norfolk, Virginia, as well as several other cousins related through the Sebrell family located in Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine or to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Maine.

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