James Joseph Bahen Jr. passed away Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at Cape Fear Hospice in Wilmington, N.C., after a short and courageous battle with cancer. Jim was born January 26, 1944 in Hickory, N.C.
He was preceded in death by his father, James Joseph Bahen Sr.; and his mother, Lillian Parker Bahen Pettit. Jim is survived by his wife of 43 years, Deborah Stewart Bahen; and two daughters, Jennifer Liberatos (John), and Stephanie Corteen (Peter); his grandchildren, Pensy Liberatos, Lillian and Nash Corteen; two sisters, Catherine Blalock (Al) and Mary Hilker (Bob); and one brother, Michael Francis Bahen; along with numerous nephews and nieces.
Jim lived in Raleigh for a few years in the early 1950s, where he attended Sacred Heart Cathedral Catholic Elementary School. Moving to Goldsboro at an early age, he attended St. Mary’s Catholic School before graduating from Goldsboro High School in 1963, where he excelled in baseball and football. Jim continued to have fond memories of Goldsboro and kept in close touch with a large number of high school friends who remained an important part of his life. He attended Wayne Community College, where he received a degree in Marine Biology. After graduating, he went to work in Elizabeth City with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. In 1973, he transferred to the Wilmington Division of Marine Fisheries. In 1976, he became an instructor at Cape Fear Community College where he taught Marine Biology. In 1979, he accepted a position with the North Carolina Sea Grant Program thru N.C. State University, where he became an advocate for commercial and sport fishermen. He retired from Sea Grant in 2002.
Jim was an avid outdoorsman. He loved fishing and hunting. After receiving a Marine Captain’s license in the early 1980s, Jim had the opportunity to captain several private sport fishing boats and fished many tournaments up and down the N.C. coast. His knowledge of coastal boating and seamanship was exceptional and he was completely at home on the water. For the last few years, Jim made many new friends while working at several area golf courses, most recently Porters Neck Country Club.
The family is deeply grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers and support from the staff at New Hanover Memorial Hospital, Lower Cape Fear Hospice and especially, Dr. Ellis Tinsley and his staff, all of whom have touched our family and will remain forever friends.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be Thursday, February 18, at 10 a.m. at Port City Community Church, 250 Vision Drive, Wilmington, N.C.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, 1702 Mail Services Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1702.
Please share memories and condolences with the family at wilmingtoncares.com.