James Wooster, Ph.D

james wooster, ph.d

September 15, 1947 ~ May 20, 2017

Wooster, James Dr., age 69, of Fort Lee, on May 20, 2017. He was born and raised in Williamstown, Massachusetts to his parents Howard B. Wooster and Jane Anne Broadhurst. He was a veteran of the Army who went on to earn his Ph.D. in economics and attended Colgate University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Vermont. He was the former Chief Economist of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and the Current Chief Economist for the New Jersey Treasury Department. A highly respected economist he was an advisor to the Federal Government and a liaison between multiple nations. Beloved "Papa" of Edward and Lucille Wooster. Dear brother of Stephen and Thomas Wooster. Adored step brother of Shaun Kelly and Sheila Kelly and the late Sharon Kelly. He will be dearly missed by many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. The family will receive their friends on Friday 3:00 – 7:00 PM at the Frank A. Patti and Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home 327 Main Street "opposite the Fort Lee Library". Cremation services will be private followed by a future inurnment service in Williamstown Mass. For condolences, directions, or information call (201) 944-0100 or www.frankpatti.com


Visitation at Funeral Home: May 26, 2017 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Final Resting Place:

Rosedale Crematory
408 Orange Road
Montclair, NJ 07042

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. My heartfelt condolences to the family. I am so sorry for your loss. May you find comfort through the happy and loving memories of your beloved James.
    May you also look to our Loving Heavenly Father, the God of all comfort, to provide what you need at this very sad time. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4, Psalms 83:18)
    He promises us that very soon, "He will wipe every tear from our eyes and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away." Revelation 21:3,4.
    What a wonderful promise!
    May all of His promises give you a measure of comfort, peace, hope and strength.

  2. I am devastated. I loved that man. He was brilliant, compassionate, passionate, engaging, funny, articulate, sophisticated and yet, with all that, humble. May God hold you in His arms, my James.

    Your Christine

  3. Deepest condolences. It was a privilege to serve in New Jersey state government with Dr. Wooster. Jim was a true gentleman and a respected professional who will be deeply missed.

    from the eyes of the woman who loved him

    On our second date, James brought me a vase filled with nineteen exquisite tulips, his favorite flower, that came from his favorite place, Amsterdam. After the movie (Hidden Figures), we spent several hours over dinner discussing racial inequality, and he revealed some of his primitive South Sudan experiences while working there for the USAID. He allowed me to read his lengthy report of the Sudan situation and his recommendations thereto. As a multi-published author, I complimented his very readable writing style, and off we went on another long discussion, of the craft of writing. I often suggested he write an autobiography, because his vignettes were always engaging.

    A true Renaissance Man, he loved the fine arts, great literature, and classical music. He sent me photos of romantic works by Fragonard (The Confession of Love), Rodin (The Kiss), Goltzius (Two Lovers), Klimt (The Kiss), and others, to express his love. Our time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was a total joy. He enthusiastically pointed out much-loved collections and we browsed the day away, holding hands like teenagers, taking photos of each other alongside masterpieces.

    Never did he arrive at my home without a little gift…chocolates, a book, flowers. Once I happened to mention I’d never tried kumquats. Next visit…he brought me kumquats. His thoughtfulness was unbounded, his kindness to others always in evidence (even to giving New York cabbies a 30 percent tip). I never heard him raise his voice, not even when reckless drivers raced by or cut him off.

    His brilliant mind was one of the first things that captivated me. When I discovered he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, I remarked on it. He merely shrugged and said, “It was hard.” No braggadocio, no preening, just a deep humility. Same with his nine-page Curriculum Vitae, listing more than 40 of his Publications, offering possible solutions to fiscal problems, in Massachusetts and Macedonia, in Kazakhstan and Kosovo, in Tunisia and Azerbaijan. His work at the New Jersey Treasury Department? “Everyone pulled their weight; I have the brightest minds working with me.” He never took credit himself. Yet the PowerPoint presentations I’ve seen were stamped with his erudition.

    His joy at being alive was contagious. Eager to mow my lawn, he was happy to be outside, to be exercising, to smell freshly cut grass. Every time he visited, newly opened flowers in my garden prompted him to marvel at their beauty.

    Eddie and Lucy, how he loved you! Even as we sat in the movie theater, if his phone vibrated, he excused himself to go outside and chat with you. When he took you to Florida and to D.C., or your 5K run, his letters were full of his joy at being with you, sending me photographs of the three of you having fun. He was so proud of you both.

    To Ludmilla Petrovna, I was with him in the restaurant the Thursday you arrived, when he called to welcome you to New Jersey, in fluent Russian. He was happy that his children’s grandmother had come to visit, and he assured me that I’d be meeting you soon.

    When we attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there came a time to say The Lord’s Prayer, and to offer each other the sign of peace. We looked into each other’s eyes and something profound came between us; we connected spiritually like I’ve never felt before. I knew without a doubt, this man was my last, greatest love. But never had I thought our time together would end a mere week later.

    James Howard Wooster, you held my heart and my soul in your hands with great tenderness. May God hold you the same. Amen.

    Your Christine

  5. So sorry to hear this. Dr. Wooster was such a kind and supportive colleague during the time I worked with him at the NJ Treasury Department. He and his family will be in my prayers.

  6. I worked with Jim in three countries (Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Azerbaijan). His ability to meaningfully explain to decision makers complex concepts was unrivaled, as was his ability to convey, without words, the sincerity of his convictions. All of us who were his colleagues are better for having known him. R.I.P., Jim.

  7. Dear Eddie and Lucy,
    I know how much you will miss "Papa" and you will always hold him deeply in your hearts. He loved you so much. I will miss him so much too. He was so kind and so good. He would laugh sometimes and call himself, "Jim, the Good." I am lucky for the years and the time we had together and so lucky by the provenance of God to see him in Florida a short time ago. I have a picture of the pretty lemon yellow tulips he brought. Because of the encouragement of your Papa, I began my Masters degree. And, because of his encouragement, I found self-esteem and confidence in my abilities as a writer and a researcher. I will have a hard time missing my friend. I loved him so much. Let's remember all the fun we all had together! Our wonderful trips to the museums, to the Statue of Liberty, our Hudson river cruises, his birthday parties! Most of all remember his consuming, passionate love for both of you. Love always, Celeste

  8. My condolences to Lucie and Eddie and all our family members and Jims friends .A wonderful Dad , and friend to many around the world. He lived a full life and touched many. We will all miss you Jim.Michael and Kathy Green.

  9. We have known James here in Tunis, working for the BRCP project.
    We appreciated his kindness, his dedication to work and his discretion.
    He was kind to everyone … I had some meetings with him to better understand the structure of the departments that deal with taxation within the Ministry of Finance
    We lose a friend .. May God receive him in his immense Paradise
    Dr Naceur CHEMAM

  10. James Brown was the hardest-working man in show business . . . but Jim was the hardest-working man in economics and public policy.

    A terrific guy who will be greatly missed.

    Dave Danning

  11. We were so sad to hear of Jim's untimely passing. I had the good fortune to work with Jim in both Kazakhstan and Macedonia. Jim and Ksenia were among our closest friends in the three years that we lived in Macedonia, and they were one of four families that got together almost every Sunday night at our place. Edward and our son Daniel were also together frequently as toddlers and we have many pictures of them playing together. Jim will be missed as a friend and as a professional colleague. Those of us who work in international development have a special bond and are fortunate so see and understand the world in a way that is very different from most others. Rest in Peace Jim.

  12. Skander and I worked with Dr. Wooster in the BRC project in Tunis. We are deeply saddened to hear of him passing. Please accept our deepest condolences and may our prayers help comfort you and hasten the journey of his soul to Heaven.

  13. I was honored to meet and work with James during his time in Tunisia. What a bright man and big heart. All my condolences to the family. RIP James.

  14. I had the pleasure of meeting Jim and his lovely children during our work in Baku. I have fond memories of chatting with him on the weekends at the kids' school. He was a terffic father and a great friend to many of us. We will miss him dearly.

  15. My husband and I knew Jim when he was in the PhD program in economics at Univ. of Mass at Amherst. At that time Jim was married to Jean, and we did a lot of social things with them. Jim taught us how to cross-country ski and on many winter days we all would all go up to Northfield Mountain (Mass.) where Jim would expertly apply wax to his ski bottoms and then take off at lightning speed– quickly leaving us far behind him. He was very enthusiastic, intense and serious about everything he undertook. He was a very strong X-C skier and runner at the time. Sometimes, Jean and Jim and Jack and I would hike over the top of Mt. Greylock (North Adams). These outings were always done at a challenging pace with Jim leading from up ahead at an energetic clip. He was always eager to talk about politics and economics and this made for lively interesting conversation. We were sad to hear of his sudden passing. Although we had not been in contact with Jim for many decades, he will always be in our memories. Rest in peace, Jim.
    –Sue and Jack Schweigel, Buffalo NY

  16. I met Jim when we were both economics graduate students at UMass Amherst in the late 1970's. I'll always treasure the time I spent hanging out with Jim and Jean and Joe in Greenfield MA. We talked about economics and politics and philosophy and life. And we laughed and we laughed. It must be thirty years since I've seen Jim but I continue to count him as a true friend. He is greatly missed.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle