Cover photo for James H. McConchie's Obituary
James H. McConchie Profile Photo
1941 Jim 2023

James H. McConchie

September 16, 1941 — November 27, 2023

Maynard, Massachusetts

James (Jim) H. McConchie, 82, of Maynard, MA, and St. George, ME, formerly of Lincoln, MA, and Concord, MA, died peacefully on November 27 with his wife Linda at his side. 

Jim lived a long, happy life full of adventure and love.  He was born on September 16, 1941, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to father John, CEO of then-Kendall Company, now Colgate, and mother Sally, a French teacher and homemaker.  His middle and high school years were spent in Wellesley, MA, where his parents and brothers spent their lifetimes.

He earned a BA from Colby College ’63, an MBA from Amos Tuck, Dartmouth ’66, and a JD from Boston College ’68.  

He was an innovative entrepreneur, founding Saturn Petroleum Company in the early 1970’s with his beloved lifelong friend and business partner Mike Rossman. Together, they opened a chain of discount gas stations throughout Greater Detroit, dispensing thousands of yellow smiley face cups to customers as a thank-you for topping off their tanks. Later, in Massachusetts, they opened the first Racquetball Clubs on the East Coast, bringing the sport to the region. Jim transformed the buildings over and again, adapting to trends in recreation.  When racquetball lost its cache, fitness, and aerobics followed, to be replaced later by trendy billiard parlors, and finally Laser Tag and doggy daycare. 

He had a natural talent for marketing and product promotion. When he named his billiard parlor Mad Maggie’s, he invented the tale of a woman locked in the Tower of London with nothing but a billiard table for company; she was driven insane by monotony and loneliness. He bought a bright pink vintage Cadillac emblazoned with the fictional wench’s name and drove it around town, taking special care to embarrass his daughters by driving it to school to pick them up at the end of the day. 

Jim had an unquenchable thirst for travel and adventure. In the early 1970s, he took a sabbatical from work and, with his soon-to-be wife Linda, embarked on a year-long journey around the world.  He trekked along the Orinoco River in Venezuela to Canaima, where he slept in a thatched hut and communed with giant wild parrots who landed amiably on his arm to receive nut treats. He flew through Angel Falls in a WWII propeller plane and traveled by elephant back to Chitwan National Park in Nepal. He later watched the sunrise on Everest from a high perch on a neighboring mountain (Nope, he didn’t climb; a Land Rover was recruited to do the work. If you knew Jim, you would have guessed that). He traded American coins for shell beads with the indigenous people of Iquitos, Peru; explored the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea, where he ate a tomato slice “as big as a dinner plate,” and bowed respectfully to an enormous gold Buddha in Thailand. He gamely sported a fashionable grass skirt and lei in Hawaii for a photo that provided considerable mirth for friends and family in the ensuing years.

He passed through Check Point Charlie at the Berlin wall, where a guide confiscated his Herald American, denouncing it as “filthy capitalist propaganda” while challenging Jim to “look into the eyes of a real Communist.” Jim escaped unscathed.

After that trip, he and Linda married in 1974 and set off for a honeymoon in the USSR to stroll through Gorky Park under the watchful eye of their guide, Olga, and wonder at the majesty of the Hermitage. 

“Stick with me, kid, and I’ll show you the world.” He did.

When daughters Lindsay and Biz came along, he showed them the world, too. They visited Vietnam, paying their respects at Ho Chi Minh’s tomb, sailing through Halong Bay, and crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels; Cambodia to fulfill a bucket list aspiration to see Angkor Wat; China for a visit to the terracotta army; South Africa for Safari; Portugal; Ireland; Germany; Istanbul, and beyond. No place was too far away, and every place was a new world to embrace and experience with new joy.  As a family, the McConchies took regular trips to Italy, always spending time in their cherished Firenze, sipping wine, eating pasta, talking about the Medici, and agreeing that, indeed, life is good.

Jim loved books. Every book, any book, all the books. He never stopped reading and as a result seemed to hold centuries of arcane data in his head.  He could summon an obscure bit of information in a heartbeat: a handy talent for besting his rivals in Trivial Pursuit and for making interesting dinner conversation.  If you were ever curious about Napolean Bonaparte’s opinion on the personality types best suited for military leadership, Jim was your go-to guy. Also, Katzenjammer Kids.

Even more than travel and books, Jim loved his family and friends.  His big heart expanded with each child who came into his life.  He fiercely loved his own two girls and created special adventures for them.  “Camping” in the backyard, where they could bring a long extension cord to attach a portable TV for entertainment, was a precursor to more exotic travel.

 He served them breakfast over the kitchen counter for years, having founded “the early bird restaurant,” complete with signage. He would take orders for bacon, cereal, eggs, and pancakes in his blue plaid robe and serve them with a satisfied chortle. 

His deep and abiding love for them was returned with equal devotion. They will spend their lives supported, protected, and guided by the many loving, tender moments he gave them.

His daughters’ friends and friends’ children became his surrogate kids. They shared games, trips to his beloved Maine cottage and even more distant places, formed special clubs, and spent hours watching movies or making ice cream sundaes at his house in Lincoln, which was always filled with the happy chaos of kids, music, and friends. 

Jim was smart, witty, kind, and generous.  He is survived by his wife Linda, daughter Lindsay McConchie, her husband John Kinsman, and precious grandsons Oscar and Sam Kinsman; daughter Elizabeth McConchie and her loving partner Ert Giese; brother Ted; nephews Justin, Michael, and Scott McConchie, and nieces Julie McConchie and Alison Currie; his sweet and loving sister-in-law April Considine and her fiancé, Tommy Spinale; his brother-in-law Scott Considine; his niece-by-choice Alexis Riedl-Twomey.  He leaves much-loved friends Peter Sugar of Lincoln, Ronnie and Dr. Stephen Kanarek of Sudbury, The Honorable James and Kathy McHugh of Vermont and Charlestown, MA, and their daughter Becca, whom he adored and nicknamed the “how-do kid,” and his friend Denise Rossman, all of whom shared happy years with him and his family.  His brother John and dearest friend Mike Rossman pre-deceased him.  He leaves behind Mike’s cherished children, Evan, Lauren, Mike, Shawn, and Sareva, whom he loved as his own.  

His family is ever grateful for the abundant love and kindness that has flowed from so many good hearts during his life and in his death.  Thank you.

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Jim for his funeral service on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at 11:00 am in the Concord Funeral Home, 74 Belknap Street, Concord, MA

Arrangements under the care of Concord Funeral Home, 74 Belknap Street, Concord, MA 01742  978-369-3388

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, January 6, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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