Cover photo for James Richard Howley Sr.'s Obituary
James Richard Howley Sr. Profile Photo

James Richard Howley Sr.

December 14, 1940 — August 15, 2018

James Richard Howley Sr.

James Richard Howley, SR. 77, of Florence, MA and formerly of Groton, fought a courageous battle against Colon Cancer and passed away at home surrounded by his family on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

Born in Waltham, MA to Thomas Joseph Howley and Hazel (Bazley) Howley, Jim was one of six children. Growing up (as dad would tell us) at the town garage, he learned to hit a baseball, pitch a mean fastball and run from Watertown to Belmont to court his future wife! He spent family time on the Cape. The beaches and dunes of Wellfleet were his favorite.

At the age of 16, Jim met Delores and their love story began…. Jim married his wife Delores Cassella on September 2, 1961. After beginning his family, Jim commuted, by bicycle from Chelmsford to Lowell, MA at night, to continue his education in Chemistry. Jim’s early career started at Itek in Analytics and Instrumentation, and GE as a Salesman. He later became an entrepreneur and owned two franchises in the dairy industry (we are the milkman’s kids), in addition to Fallen Tree Farm, Veggie City, Jake’s Ice Cream and Gary’s Gas. In 1983, Jim, Delores and his brother Dick bought and ran the Dunstable General Store, another one of his many adventures. After retirement, Jim became a self-made recruiter of jobs for senior citizens.

In 1992, Jim was inducted into the Watertown High School Sports Hall of Fame. In 1957, Jim dueled to state victory in the mile and in 1958, his 4-man 2-mile relay team finished fifth at the Penn Relays while setting a long-standing Massachusetts record with the best public-school time in the country.

Jim was first and foremost a fierce family man. A spontaneous, highly competitive, adventurous, entrepreneur. He enjoyed coaching his children from the sidelines. He guided us to understand that life is attained through dreams and hard work. He felt, and we concurred, this was his greatest achievement.

Jim was extremely proud of his children, Sheryl Howley Johnson (Dale) of Silt, CO, Kim English (Gary) of Groton MA, James Richard Howley, Jr (Colleen) of Oregon City, OR, Bryan Anthony Howley (Michelle) of Sycamore, IL, Jennifer Howley McDonald (Kevin) of Northampton, MA and Timothy Joseph Howley (Nicole) of Dunbarton, NH. Together Jim and Delores have 17 grandchildren, Emily, Hanna, Jake, Corey, Keith, Emilee, Alexa, Zack, Brooklynn, Josh, Quinn, Riley, Liam, Mark, Matthew, Max and Dolores, and two great-grandchildren, Alicia and Julie. Jim is also survived by his brother, Richard Paul Howley and sister, Jeanne Mattison and a multitude of nieces, nephews and friends.

Jim was preceded in death by his granddaughter Emily Johnson, his dad, Thomas, his mom, Hazel and his brothers Tom, Jack and Freddy.

Howley, James Richard SR. August 15, 2018. Visiting hours for Jim will be held Sunday, August 19, 2018 from 4-7 PM at the McGaffigan Family Funeral Home, 37 Main St., Pepperell, MA, 01463. A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 AM on Monday, August 20, 2018 at Our Lady of Grace Parish Worshipping at St. Joseph’s Church, 28 Tarbell Street, Pepperell, MA. Interment will follow at Groton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, a contribution could be made to two of many organizations that were meaningful to Jim. These two include the Emily Johnson Play it Forward Fund ( and American Cancer Society ( A special thank you to Cooley Dickenson Hospital for allowing Dad to do it his way.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Richard Howley Sr., please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Sunday, August 19, 2018

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Mass of Christian Burial

Monday, August 20, 2018

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Our Lady of Grace Parish worshiping at St. Joseph's Church

28 Tarbell Street, Pepperell, MA 01463

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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