Obituary: James J. “Ringo” Rivers

Obituary: James J.

James Rivers

OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Jim made his final trip to the golf course on August 29, 2021.

The sixth of seven children, he was born on February 21, 1937 to Michael “Frank” Rivers and Beatrice Leona (Pray) Rivers from Bangor, Maine. His enduring passion for sports was nurtured in Broadway Park with his childhood friends. At the age of 12, Jimmy was known as “Ringo” because he played Gregory Peck’s quick-draw Jimmy Ringo in “The Gunfighter”. In 1955, he graduated from John Bapst High School with college letters in baseball, basketball, and athletics.

Upon graduation, he joined the US Navy as a third class signalman on the USS Laffey, a destroyer known as “The Ship That Wouldn’t Die”. During his three years of service he traveled the world; Experiences of which he often spoke affectionately and which triggered a persistent desire to travel. For the rest of his life he was a member of the Tin Can Sailors and the USS Laffey Association and contributed to the maintenance of the USS Laffey DD724 museum ship in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

After his honorable discharge, Jim worked for several local accounting firms before joining the Maine Revenue Service. After 27 years as a district tax auditor, he retired in 1997.

Jim entered the Maine Senior Games at age 55 and won medals in basketball, softball, golf, and horseshoes over a period of 12 years. He was also part of the first Maine team to compete in the 1993 Nationals in Baton Rouge. He was an avid member of the Riverside and Maine State Golf Associations from the 1980s to 2007, playing every day after he retired. Until the end, Jim preferred to explore the golf course on foot. Of the 128 courses listed by the MSGA, he played 82.

Ringo loved to dance (and was great at it!), Had a wonderful sense of humor, and loved the beach very much. He was married to Margaret Mary Rivers from 1960 to 1973 and had two children, and later to Kathleen Garrigan Rivers from 1996 to 2011. He was part of many parishes across the state during his lifetime, but eventually settled in Old Orchard Beach. In his later years, he found tranquility walking on the beach, noting that the sound of the waves reminded him of being rocked to sleep on the Laffey.

James was previously deceased from: his parents; his brothers Robert, Francis and William; his sisters Phyliss and Rosemary and his beloved dog Duchess.

He is survived by: his brother Richard “Dick” Rivers; Daughter, Diane Rivers-Hooke of Westbrook; Son, Sean E. Readfield Rivers; and grandson, Kevin James Hooke, Haley Morgan Hooke, Nolan James Pease, Hayden James Rivers, and Carter Austin Rivers. As a grandfather, he was affectionately known as “Coach”.

Inexpressible love and thanks to the neighbors who became friends, Julie and Tony Murray, who were instrumental in making his wish to stay home come true. Also love Kathy who has remained a lifelong friend. Many thanks to all of his supervisors, the Beacon Home Hospice and the Gosnell Hospice House.

The arrangements are managed by Advantage Funeral and Cremation Services. Mount Pleasant Cemetery Commemoration in Spring 2022. Expressions of condolences and memories can be found at


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