Rest in Peace Jim Gaffney

June 3rd, 2020

James (Jim, Jamie) Taylor Gaffney died peacefully at home on May 26, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. Jim was the Watershed’s executive director from 1980 to 1985, leading the organization through a pivotal time in its history. 

Born in Binghamton, NY in 1949, he attended local elementary and middle schools before attending and graduating from Deerfield Academy.

Jim received his BA in history and Russian studies, cum laude, from Princeton University in 1969. He served as First Lieutenant in the Intelligence branch of the U.S. Army during Vietnam.

In 1975, Jim helped found the Quebec-Labrador Foundation’s Living Rivers Conservation Education Program before receiving his Master of Science in Natural Resources Policy and Planning from Cornell University.

Jim moved to New Jersey in 1980 to become the executive director of the Watershed, known then as the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Jim was one of the state’s leading advocates for clean water and was instrumental in protecting its waterways. Jim also helped engineer a management plan for the Watershed Reserve, initiated the Watershed Organic Farm, and ushered in a new era of environmental education by hiring Jeff Hoagland as education director in 1984.

Later he worked for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) in water policy and planning for the Passaic River watershed.

Jim was active locally as a Treasurer of the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space and was chairman of the Environmental Commission in Pennington for seven years. He was a member and treasurer of the Princeton Ski and Sailing Club.

Son of the late Miller S. and Adelaide S. Gaffney, he was predeceased by his nephew, Andy S. Gaffney and his sister in law, Nancy B Gaffney. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Coyle Gaffney, and his children, Jeffrey T. Gaffney (Georgina) and Megan A Gaffney, his brothers David M. Gaffney and family and Philip W. Gaffney and family.

Burial will be private, and a Memorial Service will take place in the fall.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to The Watershed Institute or

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