2010-03-04 / Obituaries

James Mercer Garnett, 84

James Mercer Garnett, 84, died peacefully at his home in Jamestown on Tuesday, March 2, 2010.

He was the son of the late Muscoe Russell Hunter Garnett of New York City and Loretto, Va. and the late Caroline Barclay Strong of Chestnut Hill, Pa. and Jamestown.

Born in Chestnut Hill, Garnett attended the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn. and Chestnut Hill Academy in Chestnut Hill, Pa. He graduated in 1943 from South Kent School in South Kent, Conn., where he was senior prefect, president of his class and a three-letter athlete in football, ice hockey and crew.

Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines. A member of the famed Marine 5th Division, Garnett was engaged in the Battle of Iwo Jima and the occupational forces in Japan. After discharge from military service, he enrolled at Yale University, where he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the Scroll and Key Society, and graduated in 1950.

He began his insurance business career with Marsh McLennan in New York City and later moved to London, where he served as vice president and manager of that office. He completed his career in the insurance field as vice president of F.J. Wilkes & Co. in New York City, retiring in 1992.

He is survived by his wife, Sally Begg Garnett; his sister, Anne Wister Garnett Boenning and her husband, H. Dickson S. Boenning, of Gladwyne, Pa. and Jamestown; his brother, Stephen Hunter Garnett and his wife, Alicia Lamberton Garnett, of Jamestown; and his half-brother, Muscoe Russell Hunter Garnett Jr. and his wife, Roberta Thompson Garnett, of Loretto, Va. He was pre-deceased by his half-sister, Agnes Wallace Garnett Leary, who is survived by her husband, David Wagner Leary of Sandwich, Mass.

Garnett was first married to Jane Scott Garnett of Wilmington, Del., with whom he had four children, Jane Marvel Garnett and her husband, David G. Booth, of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Jamestown; James Mercer Garnett Jr. and his wife, Margery Ward Garnett, of Darien, Conn.; Sidney Scott Garnett and his wife, Isabelle Farrell Garnett, of Chadds Ford, Pa.; and William Barclay Garnett of Longneck, Del. He has eight grandchildren, Garnett, Taylor and Oliver Booth of New York; Susan, Sofia, Madeline and James Mercer Garnett III of Connecticut; and Jason Marvel Garnett of Delaware. He also leaves many nieces, nephews and cousins.

After spending many summers in Jamestown, Garnett and his wife, Sally, moved here permanently in 1992.

A third-degree Mason, Garnett was a member of Holland Lodge No. 8 of New York City. He was also a member of the Yale Club of New York; the Newport Reading Room, Newport; the Conanicut Yacht Club; and a former member of the Clambake Club of Newport; the Field Club of Greenwich in Connecticut and the Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conn.

A private graveside service, officiated by the Rev. Kevin Lloyd of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, will be held at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Jamestown. In lieu of flowers, donate to the charity of your choice.

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