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James L. Wiles

January 19, 1927 June 12, 2015
James L. Wiles
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Obituary for James L. Wiles

James L. Wiles died on June 12, 2015 at his home in Middletown, RI. The son of Russell L. and Evelyn B. (Davis) Wiles, he was born on January 19, 1927 in Watertown, MA. Jim was a graduate of St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, MA and served in the army in 1945-47. He graduated from Boston College in 1951, received a master’s degree from Harvard University in 1953, and a Ph.D in economics from Harvard in 1976.
 
He was a longtime economics professor at Stonehill College. Retiring in 1992, he then collaborated with Professor Richard Finnegan on developing Stonehill’s archive of Irish documents and in publishing works based upon them.
 
Besides his wife of 30 years, Freda W. MacLeod, he leaves a brother, Richard C. Wiles of Riverside, PA; a sister Elizabeth Katz (Maurice) of Tesuque, NM; his son Christopher K. Wiles of Norton MA; his daughter Jennifer Wiles (Steven Balser) of Sudbury, MA; his son Jonathan P. Wiles of Natick, MA and his stepson Gregory Wallace (Jenny Fierro) of Providence, RI. Jim also leaves nine grandchildren and step-grandchildren: Nathan, Anna and Madeline Balser; Monica, Olivia and Andrea Wiles; Emma, Kate and Henry Wallace, and seven nieces and nephews. He also cherished many of his former colleagues, including David McCarthy, Richard Finnegan and Robert Rosenthal.
 
Jim loved railroads and ocean liners; he reveled in the great European cities and in the novels of Alan Furst; he faithfully read the New York Times, followed soccer and college sports; he liked children and cats, and enjoyed music. He was especially fond of the Marlboro Music Festival, the classic French songs, and the great American songbook.
 
A remarkably gentle person, Jim was admired for the subtlety of his fine mind, loved for his humility and exquisite concern for the sensibilities of others, and enjoyed for his amazing dry wit. He was an excellent cook who cherished Pierre Franey’s recipes. Although he took great pleasure in wine, cognac, Stilton cheese and his daughter’s biscotti, he always remained loyal to his old favorites: vanilla ice cream, peeps and devil dogs.
 
Donations in his memory may be made to the John Clarke Retirement Center Activities Fund, 600 Valley Road Middletown, RI 02842.
 
A memorial service for Jim will be held Saturday, June 27 at 11:00 AM in the Historic Chapel at Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, RI.

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