James C. Wemyss Jr., master story teller, adventurer, father, grandfather, and business man, died Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Mr. Wemyss is survived by his two children Heather Petryk and James C. Wemyss III, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Mr. Wemyss had a particularly close relationship with his grandfather who taught him about business and the paper industry starting at a very young age. He grew up going to school in Stamford, Conn., and in Northern New Hampshire – his beloved “North Country.” With World War II looming, he asked his parents if he could go a military high school in Virginia to ensure he was prepared should he have to serve our nation. He often said that this preparation and training not only saved his life, but also helped him save the lives of other American soldiers he served with.
Having a reliably accurate shot, he was recruited to shoot down German sea mines on his trip to Europe. He courageously fought in the Battle of the Bulge with General Patton, where he led a platoon of men to safety due to his quick thinking, military school training, and his sharp shot. While in France, he suffered a casualty that earned him The Purple Heart and had him return home to recuperate at his grandfather’s home in NY. This is where he met and fell in love with his wife of 70 years, Zelma (Zellie) Robinson Wemyss.
After the war, he went to work for his family business: the Groveton Paper Company. He flourished and evolved into an influential businessman in the paper industry that led to the creation of many jobs. Mr. Wemyss loved Groveton and the North Country and often gave back to the community by fixing things such as the community pool and the local school after a fire. At one point he became Selectman of Groveton.
Mr. Wemyss could be described as a resilient lover of life. Even into his 90’s, he could be found on his ATV, snowmobiling in his back yard, or cruising around his favorite place, Maidstone Lake, VT on his pontoon boat listening to big band music. He was a strong supporter of North Country ATV.
While he often had a commanding presence, those who knew him well would also speak to his playful, loving, soft side, especially for his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and dogs (despite his allergy to them). He loved being with people and continually created new relationships wherever he went, all the way to the last week of his life here he made friends with the new neighbors over a bottle from his Scotch reserve.
He often wagged his finger to anyone who would say, “good-bye,” correcting them to always say, “Toot-a-loo.”
With our greatest love and respect, “Toot-a-loo” Mr. Wemyss. Until next time.
A celebration of life for James C. Wemyss Jr. and Zelma R. Wemyss will be planned in Groveton, N.H. for Summer 2020.