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James E. Lantz

Newport, N.H. — James E. Lantz, 89, a citizen of Newport for the past 43 years, died suddenly and peacefully Monday evening, March 17, 2014, following a heart attack at his home on Pollards Mills Road.

Mr. Lantz lived at his home with his devoted wife of 64 years, Louise. He was a widely-admired member of the community as a local businessman, member of the School Board and supporter of the arts, historic preservation and other social causes. Following a debilitating stroke five years ago, he was forced to retire from his Newport jewelry business, MJ Harrington & Company. This business is currently owned by son David and wife LuAnne and they continue Jim’s dedication to building long term relationships and giving back to the community. Despite his stroke, Jim Lantz never lost his love for his many friends in Newport and the other communities where he lived and served. In his own words, he was “proud to call them his friends.”

Jim Lantz was born in Jan., 1925, in Nashua, N.H., the son of Albert G. Lantz and Lena Lucy Dresser Lantz, the 3rd of six children. He was raised with his family in Keene, N.H., growing up through the Great Depression, and graduating from Keene High School in 1943. Midway through his senior year in high school, he was drafted into the service of his country in World War II, along with many of his classmates, including his very best friend, Dick Tuttle who he never forgot and sadly never came home. He served honorably in the US Army rising to the rank of sergeant, eventually being stationed in the Panama Canal Zone as an army jeep mechanic. Following the war, Mr. Lantz attended and graduated from the Pennsylvania Horological Institute in Pittsburgh under the GI Bill, being trained as a watchmaker and hand jewelry engraver. He then returned to Keene, where he began his lifelong career in the jewelry business working for Lou Simon of Simon’s Jewelers. There he also met and married his wife Louise and together they began their family eventually growing to six sons. In 1956, Jim moved his family to Brattleboro as manager of a new branch of Simon’s where he remained until 1971. In 1971, he was fortunate to be able to buy a small jewelry business in Newport, previously owned by his sister, Phyllis, and her husband Michael J. Harrington. The business was known for many years as Harrington’s Jewelers and it recently celebrated its 65th anniversary in Newport.

Jim Lantz is well-known and admired for his community service and generosity. He was a member of the Lions Club in Keene, and the Kiwanis Club in Brattleboro, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a regular participant in the Newport Common 4th of July and Veterans Day celebrations, including firing of the cannon in 2012. He was an active member of the Newport Chamber of Commerce and an active fundraiser and contributor to many local Newport area charities, historical, artistic, health, and sporting. As his family grew, Mr. Lantz took an active interest in public education, serving as elected member of the School Boards of both Brattleboro and Newport. He was a strong supporter of vocational high school training programs, from which he, himself, benefited as a youngster in Keene.

Jim was also a great supporter of skiing from the 1930’s and throughout his life, including the Brattleboro Outing Club ski jumping program led by Alan Sargent, and the Newport Nordic Club (Mt. Sunapee Ski Club). He was recipient of the 2005 John W. McCrillis Award for the support of area skiing, an award which he found particularly meaningful right up until two days before his death when he attended the 20th award ceremony at Mt. Sunapee. Jim attended the New London Christian Science Church, and was a man who took his faith seriously and studied daily. He is widely recognized and appreciated by many in the communities where he has lived and served, named Man of Achievement by the Newport Chamber of Commerce in 1982 and having the Town of Newport Annual Report dedicated to him in 2003.

Mr. Lantz was predeceased by his sister Phyllis and Michael Harrington, sister Janice and Bob Coffeen, brother Bob and Margaret Lantz, and sister-in-law Barbara Lantz. He leaves behind his brother Albert G. Lantz. He also leaves behind his wife, Louise, their six sons and wives: James and Amelia of Grantham, David and LuAnne of Sunapee, Tom and Sandy of Newbury, Doug and Amy of Hanover, Steve and Patty of Los Angeles, Calif., and Jeff and Annie of Denver, Colo.; 15 grandchildren: Sarah, Sandy, Katie, Megan, DJ, Lyndsay, Ryen, Riley, Avery, Ariel, Andrew, Daniel, Asher, Nate, and Colin; and one great-grandchild, Wyatt. He also leaves behind nine nieces and nephews, and many great friends and colleagues from Newport and the surrounding communities for miles around.

A service of remembrance for the life of James E. Lantz has been scheduled for Sunday, March 23, 2014, at South Congregational Church, South Main Street, Newport, at 2 p.m. There will be no calling hours.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that any donations be made to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, 37 Pleasant St., Concord, NH 03301 www.nhcf.org. Please note in the memo line of your check that the donation is for the Newport Fund, in honor of Jim Lantz.

For more information or to send a condolence, please visit the Newton-Bartlett Funeral Home at www.newtonbartlett.com.