James N. Psaras, 58, of Middletown, RI, passed away at home with his family by his side on July 2, 2022 after a long battle with cancer. He was the loving husband of Katharine “Kit” (Hirst) Psaras, and adoring father to his children, Julia R. Psaras and William J. Psaras, of Middletown.
Jimmy was born in Newport, RI, to the late George and Mersene (Tsepne) Psaras. Mersene and George raised Jim in their always welcoming home on Thurston Avenue while Jimmy attended Sheffield, Thompson and Rogers High School (Class of 1982). Jimmy was immensely proud of his Greek heritage, instilled at an early age from his parents who both immigrated from Greece to Newport. Growing up, Jimmy was very involved at St. Spyridon Orthodox Church, where he served as an altar boy, played on their basketball team, and carried the ceremonial torch from City Hall down to Thames Street to mark the inaugural Hellenic Fest in 1983.
Jim attended Roger Williams University and URI where he majored in Physical Education, graduating in 1990. Following graduation, Jim returned to Newport beginning his lifetime commitment of giving back to his community. Jimmy taught in the Newport Public Schools for over 25 years as a PE teacher. He always found ways to lead and start traditions in the schools, focused on engaging his students and making learning fun – he spearheaded the Monster Mash at Halloween, collected his favorite candy – “Butterfingers” from his adoring students who brought them in for him every November 1st, and championing the best Field Days year after year. His contribution to the Newport community was perhaps most impactful during the 26 years as the head boys’ basketball coach at Rogers High School. His teams won three Division I State Championships and had countless other runs in the playoffs. He started the Viking Hoops Camp which celebrated 25 years last summer. Jim’s passion for using sports as a way to teach youth the important lessons in life guided him in the classroom, on the court and beyond. His dedication to the community and his admiration for his players was extraordinary. Making an impact came naturally to Jim, he always wanted to every player, student, and camper to know that they had the capacity to make a difference by being the best person they could be. He brought the best out in every person he met.
Of the court, Jimmy spent many mornings walking with Kit and his black lab Sophie. He loved summer days at Gooseberry Beach, lounging or working the lot. He had countless days playing rounds of golf at Wanumotonomy with friends and family. Jim was an avid Duke Basketball fan. He idolized “Coach K”, and closely followed Coach K’s defensive strategies on the court. Jimmy loved vacationing with Kit in Siesta Key, FL., a warm lobster roll, making Fantasy Football picks, playing pickleball around town and attending many Final Four basketball tournaments with friends.
Jim was the ultimate family man. His two children, Julia and Will, were his everything. He never missed their games, always making a point to capture them on video or by camera. He loved taking the kids to Disney, bringing them to the Hellenic Fest, and watching Star Wars together. Jim was filled with pride when he saw Julia graduate from Providence College and Will graduate from Middletown High School this Spring.
Thank you to our family, friends, neighbors and the whole community for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. A special thank you to Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice, especially Suzanne and Julie for your help and love to Jim.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, from 9:00AM to 1:00 PM in the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, July 7, 2022, at 11AM in St. Spyridons Greek Orthodox Church, 390 Thames Street, Newport. Burial will follow in Middletown Cemetery, Middletown.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Psaras Family Athletic Scholarship Fund. Checks made payable to “Fidelity Charitable” (in the memo line indicate “PFASF”). Please mail donations to 174 Tuckerman Ave. Middletown, RI 02842.