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James Wynne, noted rower, competed in Olympics

July 24, 1937 – Jan. 23, 2014

James Wynne, a noted Western New York rower who competed in the Olympics, died Friday of complications of cancer. He was 76.

Mr. Wynne, of Grand Island, rowed competitively throughout high school at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, winning many national and Canadian medals, and he rowed at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1956, he took a leave of absence from college to join a five-man crew at the West Side Rowing Club that competed in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. He also rowed in the European Games in 1960.

In 1963, Mr. Wynne married Judy Ryan. They moved to Boston, Mass., where he worked in personnel for United Parcel Service and spent his weekends watching rowers on the Charles River. He was appointed lightweight crew coach at Yale University in 1964.

Mr. Wynne and his family in 1970 returned to the Buffalo area, where he pursued a career in hospital administration, working at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. During this time, he was instrumental in writing a major grant application and procuring federal funds for a new mental health center. He was a member and served on the board of the National Council of Mental Health.

Mr. Wynne returned to coaching in the 1990s, first at Nichols School and then at the University at Buffalo as assistant coach for women’s rowing. He retired in 2004.

He enjoyed painting, especially charcoals and oils, and history, especially the Civil War. As a cook, he was known for his pear and leek soup.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two daughters, Elizabeth Killian and Molly Ehlenfield; a son, James Jr.; and seven grandchildren.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in St. Martin’s in the Fields Episcopal Church, 2587 Baseline Road, Grand Island.

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