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Published February 03, 2013, 12:00 AM

James E. Walline, Sr.

James E. Walline, Sr., a dedicated and enthusiastic educator, father and husband, died January 30, 2013, in Buffalo, New York. He was surrounded by his loving family, including his wife Marjorie and their six children, in the days before he died. He had Parkinson's Disease.

A Minnesota native, Mr. Walline influenced thousands of students in the Western New York area during an New York education career that spanned more than three decades, primarily at Grand Island Senior High School, where he was Principal for 17 years (1976-1993). He was also Principal of Pembroke High School (1972-1976), and his last post was as Principal of Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda (1993-1996). A biologist by training, he began his career as a biology teacher at Warren Junior High School in Massachusetts.

James E. Walline, Sr.

James E. Walline, Sr., a dedicated and enthusiastic educator, father and husband, died January 30, 2013, in Buffalo, New York. He was surrounded by his loving family, including his wife Marjorie and their six children, in the days before he died. He had Parkinson's Disease.

A Minnesota native, Mr. Walline influenced thousands of students in the Western New York area during an New York education career that spanned more than three decades, primarily at Grand Island Senior High School, where he was Principal for 17 years (1976-1993). He was also Principal of Pembroke High School (1972-1976), and his last post was as Principal of Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda (1993-1996). A biologist by training, he began his career as a biology teacher at Warren Junior High School in Massachusetts.

A gifted athlete, baseball player, and football enthusiast, Mr. Walline guided students not only in the classroom but on the sports fields as well. He coached football and wrestling at North Dakota State University, and for years was a mainstay in local baseball dugouts as a coach for Christy Mathewson Little League, with all three sons on the team rosters. He was an officer of the Kenawan Figure Skating Club and joined his children in figure skating shows, where he found an outlet for his inner class clown. He was a long-time parishioner and CCD teacher at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Williamsville.

Mr. Walline's personal philosophy was rooted in making a difference, in his commitment to young people, and to what he saw as his role as an "awakener"- he saw himself not only as a teacher, but a provocateur, philosopher, and counselor. "Be the change you want to see in the world," he would tell his children and his students. "Make a difference. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem." He often paraphrased Robert Kennedy, saying, "[t]he waves created by the few return in ripples to the many. Make ripples." Students knew him as a passionate advocate with high expectations and hopes for each of them. During a sabbatical from Grand Island, he worked with General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW), designing a program he called "School to Work" to help connect teachers with local businesses to ensure students developed skills that would be useful to employers who were hiring. He was an adjunct professor at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Extension and Outreach program.

Late in his career, he discovered a gift for and love of creative writing. He was a member of the Western New York Writing Project at Canisius College, an affiliate of the National Writing Project, a nationwide education program that works to improve student writing and thinking. He loved to write stories about his career, his childhood, and the life lessons he passed on. He created a blog called The Awakener, where most of his writings can be found: http://jimwalline.blogspot.com.

James Edward Walline, whose father was the son of Swedish immigrants who settled in Minnesota, was born in Fargo, ND, on September 26, 1935. He received a bachelor's degree in biology and education from Moorhead State Teacher's College and then served three years in the Army as a cryptanalyst during the Korean War. He was stationed at Fort Devens and in Arlington, Virginia. He went on to get a Master's Degree in Zoology from North Dakota State University and advanced certificates in education from Brandeis University and Boston University, where he remained active in recruiting students for his alma mater.

Mr. Walline served as a JCI Senator, and was a strong supporter of Special Olympics. His hobbies included bowling, backgammon, and gardening. He loved musical theater and conceived and helped his youngest son Michael, to create the popular show "Jamestown Gals" for Buffalo's Musicalfare in 2009. In the Winter, he could be found snowblowing half the sidewalks and driveways in his Williamsville neighborhood. In the summer, he loved to walk on the beach in Wells, Maine, and rock in his hammock with his grandchildren and his dog.

He is survived by his wife, Marjorie Caisse, to whom he was married since 1963 and their six children; Martha Bouquin, Jennifer Chudyk, Megan Walline, James Walline Jr., Matthew Walline, and Michael Walline. He is also survived by a sister, Doris, and eight grandchildren.

The family will be present on Sunday from 1-5 PM at the (Amherst Chapel) AMIGONE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 5200 Sheridan Drive (corner of Hopkins Road) where prayers will be offered on Monday at 9:45 AM, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated from St. Gregory the Great Church at 10:30 AM. Friends invited. Please share your condolences at www.AMIGONE.com.

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