OBITUARY

James Gabriel Sappier Sr.

May 9, 1941March 31, 2019
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James G. Sappier, Sr. Indian Island—James G. “Jim” Sappier, Sr., 77, died March 31, 2019 at a Bangor health care facility. He was born May 9, 1941 in Old Town a son of Paul L. and Madeline (Polchies) Sappier. Jim was a very spiritual person, devoting his heart and soul to God, St Ann's Church and helping others. He enjoyed spending, what little time he had, with his family playing cribbage, poker, bingo or just talking. Jim would compete in cribbage tournaments all over the state, but could never seem to beat the Sisters of Mercy. As a younger man, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golfing. Jim's favorite thing to do was to spend time with his children and grandchildren teaching them about life's little secrets. He loved his wife and family dearly. Jim enjoyed people, whether they were family, friends, coworkers or strangers; he would stop and talk to everyone, understanding that everyone was important....one example of his many acts of kindness; On Thanksgiving about 1973, Jim drove into Old Town during a winter storm and offered a homeless man dinner and a place to stay during the storm. Jim had a great sense of humor, he could always make light of a situation and then, would flash that smile. Jim graduated from Old Town High School, where he won multiple state championships in basketball and track and field. Jim had a strong work ethic and held many jobs & titles. He worked in Bar Harbor, ME cooking lobsters, he enlisted to the USAF and worked in Brewer, ME inspecting paper at Eastern Pulp and Paper. He eventually moved to Connecticut and went to work for Sikorsky Helicopters. Jim then decided to come home and get involved into Indian affairs. Jim spent most of his life working to make policies and conditions on Indian Island, Maine and the country, trying to make life better for Native Americans. In 1970, Jim went to work on Indian Island for Mainstream for a year, before accepting a coordinator position the following year in Boston with the Federal Regional Council. In 1976, Jim accepted the administrator position at Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point. Jim then returned to Indian Island to accept the Director of Trust Responsibilities. During this period, Jim also was the Chairman of the New England Indian Task Force. He also was on the Maine Indian Land Claims negotiating committee. In 1982, Jim accepted the Administrator position for the Penobscot Nation. Jim also spent 10 years working in Boston as a Regional Indian Program Manager for the EPA. Jim spent two years as the Director of USET. Jim spent numerous years as a Penobscot Nation Council Member, Penobscot Representative to Maine, Lt Governor and multiple terms as Penobscot Chief. Jim has been given numerous awards for his service and was awarded an Honorary Degree at St Joseph's College. Jim has been the Keynote Speaker dozens of times across the country, testified before congress, discussed environmental, educational and Native American issues. Jim has been appointed and served on many committees. He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Bonnie (Jameson) Sappier; son James Sappier, daughter Tricia Stewart; four grandchildren Erik Sappier and his wife, Esther, Gavin Sappier, Gabe Stewart, Mackenzie Stewart; four great grandchildren Nora, Aven, Doozie, and Devon; brother Matthew Sappier, sisters Dolores Sappier, Mary Fitzgerald, Teresa Sappier, Annette Desjardins; numerous nieces and nephews. Friends may call 6-8 PM Friday at the Birmingham Funeral Home 438 Main St Old Town. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 AM Saturday at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Indian Island. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wabanaki Health and Wellness 57 Park St Bangor, ME 04401

Services

  • Visitation Friday, April 5, 2019
  • Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, April 6, 2019
REMEMBERING

James Gabriel Sappier Sr.

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George Frantz

April 8, 2019

I worked with Jim in the Indian Program at EPA, and became program manager after he retired. Jim was a gracious person, always rewarding those who had an interest in tribal lore, customs or law with kind words and a warm smile. He did a great deal to maintain and advance the cause of the Penobscot people and all the tribes. He was an effective advocate, not only in the New England region, but in EPA Indian Program activities all across the country.
He was widely respected and will be greatly missed.
I take comfort in a Lakota tradition, which said that a person's spirit remains alive as long as stories are told about that one. Jim told many stories and figured in many more.
Mitakuye Oyasin, old friend

John Isaac

April 4, 2019

Please accept our sincere sympathy and condolences for your loss. Jim was a fine man, our thoughts and prayers willl be with his family and friends during this difficult time. Sincerely, John Isaac and daughters

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Biography

James G. Sappier, Sr.
Indian Island—James G. “Jim” Sappier, Sr., 77, died March 31, 2019 at a Bangor health care facility. He was born May 9, 1941 in Old Town a son of Paul L. and Madeline (Polchies) Sappier.
Jim was a very spiritual person, devoting his heart and soul to God, St Ann's Church and helping others. He enjoyed spending, what little time he had, with his family playing cribbage, poker, bingo or just talking. Jim would compete in cribbage tournaments all over the state, but could never seem to beat the Sisters of Mercy. As a younger man, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golfing. Jim's favorite thing to do was to spend time with his children and grandchildren teaching them about life's little secrets. He loved his wife and family dearly.
Jim enjoyed people, whether they were family, friends, coworkers or strangers; he would stop and talk to everyone, understanding that everyone was important....one example of his many acts of kindness; On Thanksgiving about 1973, Jim drove into Old Town during a winter storm and offered a homeless man dinner and a place to stay during the storm. Jim had a great sense of humor, he could always make light of a situation and then, would flash that smile.
Jim graduated from Old Town High School, where he won multiple state championships in basketball and track and field. Jim had a strong work ethic and held many jobs & titles. He worked in Bar Harbor, ME cooking lobsters, he enlisted to the USAF and worked in Brewer, ME inspecting paper at Eastern Pulp and Paper. He eventually moved to Connecticut and went to work for Sikorsky Helicopters. Jim then decided to come home and get involved into Indian affairs. Jim spent most of his life working to make policies and conditions on Indian Island, Maine and the country, trying to make life better for Native Americans.
In 1970, Jim went to work on Indian Island for Mainstream for a year, before accepting a coordinator position the following year in Boston with the Federal Regional Council. In 1976, Jim accepted the administrator position at Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point. Jim then returned to Indian Island to accept the Director of Trust Responsibilities. During this period, Jim also was the Chairman of the New England Indian Task Force. He also was on the Maine Indian Land Claims negotiating committee. In 1982, Jim accepted the Administrator position for the Penobscot Nation. Jim also spent 10 years working in Boston as a Regional Indian Program Manager for the EPA. Jim spent two years as the Director of USET. Jim spent numerous years as a Penobscot Nation Council Member, Penobscot Representative to Maine, Lt Governor and multiple terms as Penobscot Chief.
Jim has been given numerous awards for his service and was awarded an Honorary Degree at St Joseph's College. Jim has been the Keynote Speaker dozens of times across the country, testified before congress, discussed environmental, educational and Native American issues. Jim has been appointed and served on many committees.
He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Bonnie (Jameson) Sappier; son James Sappier, daughter Tricia Stewart; four grandchildren Erik Sappier and his wife, Esther, Gavin Sappier, Gabe Stewart, Mackenzie Stewart; four great grandchildren Nora, Aven, Doozie, and Devon; brother Matthew Sappier, sisters Dolores Sappier, Mary Fitzgerald, Teresa Sappier, Annette Desjardins; numerous nieces and nephews.

Friends may call 6-8 PM Friday at the Birmingham Funeral Home 438 Main St Old Town. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 AM Saturday at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Indian Island.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wabanaki Health and Wellness 57 Park St Bangor, ME 04401