James Richard Bullard, 88, of Westport, died Sunday August 16, 2020 at UVM Health Network Elizabethtown Community Hospital. He was born in Schuylerville, NY on Valentine’s Day in 1932, son of the late Kenneth and Adelaide (Gannon) Bullard.
He is survived by his wife Shirley, niece Spring, nephew Alpheus, brother David, stepdaughters Sandy and Sharon, and stepgrandchildren Andrew, Matthew and Kate.
Jim had a distinctly different path in life. He was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Cornell University. He was drafted into the U S Army in 1954 and served in Germany until 1956. He studied at Columbia University and was a Fulbright Scholar to Turkey until he was called back to his family orchard business upon the illness and death of his father in 1964.
After several years at Bullard Orchards, a family dispute based on fundamental management issues led Jim to leave. With very limited resources and after a period of some anxiety, a chance encounter in New York City led to hiring by Uniroyal to grow rice and maize for plantation workers in Liberia. Later he worked for the International Center for the Improvement of Wheat and Maize in the Congo. In all, he spent almost eight years in Africa. Jim was multi-lingual, and traveled internationally for the Holstein Fresian Association.
In 1976, Jim retired to the USA and, again by a lucky turn, bought the Fort Ti Ferry in Shoreham, Vermont, the ninth owner since 1789. He operated the ferry for twenty two very happy years, became a dedicated Vermonter, a long term member of the Middlebury Union High School board, and a dedicated student of the history of Lake Champlain.
In 1983, he married Shirley Perkins Hormel, a Vermont speech-language pathologist. They sold the ferry business in 1998 and retired to Westport, New York. He loved boating on Lake Champlain, the Hudson, and St. Lawrence Rivers during the summers. Jim served as a volunteer with Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin Counties, as a tutor, board member, and president. He was especially interested in helping Latino inmates at the Moriah Shock Correctional Facility to improve their English and their chances for better lives.
At his request there will be no services. Some summer evening post-pandemic, he would be pleased if friends gather on the ferry to reminisce. He would also be pleased if friends and acquaintances would make memorial donations to Literacy Volunteers, 3265 Broad Street, Port Henry, N Y 12974
Arrangements have been entrusted to Heald Funeral Home, 7521 Court Street, Elizabethtown.
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