Jim Clish, of Townsend, passed away last week. Though many of you might not know him, many others do.

With his gentle smile and complete selflessness, he was a giant of a man.

Jim started Townsend Ecumenical Outreach nearly 30 years ago. Though I seldom heard him talk about himself, a little birdie told me that as a child, he had known hunger. As an adult, he vowed to do all he could to see that no one else went hungry.

His commitment to TEO was complete and not until his health sidelined him did he slow and then end his work for the organization.

His life was planned around Thanksgiving and Christmas when he took his vacations from Hollingsworth and Vose, and later, Moore Enterprises, to work with other volunteers at collecting food and packing boxes for delivery to his neighbors in need of food for the holidays.

Jim didn't drive a car, of course. He drove a pick-up truck to enable him to pick up food from regional food pantries to deliver to the 82 Bayberry Hill Road headquarters of TEO.

Jim was honored by the William E. May Endowment Fund for his commitment to the town's elders. He shared the honor with his wife, Chris, who is the long-time director of the Council on Aging.

No longer must Jim worry about the often dwindling supply of food available from the regional food banks and the other concerns that occupied him during all those years when he took the cause of the TEO upon his shoulders.

TEO will go on, such is the commitment of those who worked with Jim and follow in his footsteps. But it will never be the same.


Perhaps a dedication plaque with Jim's photo can grace the entryway to TEO. Then all who enter can see in whose heart the seed of the TEO took shape.

And they can see his smiling face, forever watching over all who enter 82 Bayberry.