James G. McLoughlin, 94: Political activist, founded Army jazz band

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HARPSWELL — James G. McLoughlin, 94,  of Harpswell, died unexpectedly on March 31, at Midcoast Hospital in Brunswick.

He was born on Oct. 17, 1919, in Elizabeth, N.J., the only child of James G. Sr. and Bertha Brandenburg McLoughlin. He attended area schools and junior college. During World War II, he was a decorated B-26 turret gunner in the Army Air Corps, flying 79 combat missions. While serving, he founded an Army jazz band in England. After the army, he pursued a career in music and theater in New York City as a jazz musician and arranger. Following studies at the American Theatre Wing, he was an editor and producer at various radio stations on the East Coast.

On March 15, 1958, he married Norma Jannell and embarked on a career as an independent communications consultant, creating promotional campaigns for businesses and organizations ranging from Union Carbide to the foreign press corps and for numerous political figures.

In 1970, he moved his family to Brunswick, where he continued his consulting career, as well as founding two local publishing houses. He also served as consultant to several Maine medical programs and associations, the University of Maine System and area banks. He was a trustee of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, where he helped establish BLOOM, a science program for selected Maine high school students.

He was a longtime and active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick and had a special interest in The Gathering Place, an interfaith day shelter for those in need. He recently celebrated 63 years with AA, where he served as sponsor to countless individuals. He claimed he was a political activist since the age of 8, when he worked on the 1928 presidential campaign of Democrat Al Smith. A voracious reader, he remained politically astute and opinionated until his death. 

He was predeceased by his parents and by a son, Terrance McLoughlin.

He is survived by his wife, Norma, of 56 years; daughter, Anne McLoughlin and husband, Alan Hummer, of Brunswick; son, John McLoughlin and wife, Elizabeth Peavey, of Portland; daughter-in-law, Arlene McLoughlin; sister-in-law, Florence Morris, of Portland; grandchildren, Michael McLoughlin and wife, Alice, Susan and Thomas McLoughlin, Jared and Kristen Hummer, of Brunswick; and great-grandchildren, Anna and Oliver McLoughlin.

A funeral service was held at St. Paul’s, Brunswick on April 5. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Gathering Place, 84B Union St., Brunswick.

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