Dr. James Loren Sniffen

Fri, 04/24/2020 - 11:00am
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Dr. James Loren Sniffen, 89, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 15 at his home on Block Island. Jim was born in Westport, Conn. on June 19, 1930 to Loren and Karin Sniffen. Starting at a young age, he worked at Fillow Florist, the family’s nursery and greenhouses.

Jim graduated from Staples High School in Westport. He attended the University of Massachusetts, followed by Tufts Dental School.

In June of 1955, Jim married Beverly Berg. After two years of service in the Navy, they moved to Monroe, Conn. to set up his dental practice. Together they spent over 30 years in Monroe where they welcomed six children into the family, as well as an assortment of pets.

Jim was very active in the Monroe community. He was a long time member and past president of the Monroe Lions Club, the Republican Club, the Town and Country Club, and the Masuk High School Building Committee. He spent a great deal of time at the town library and cheering for the high school sports teams.

Jim first came to Block Island with his father in the late 1940s to fish. His parents purchased the house on Spring Street in the early 1960s, where, after retiring, Jim and Beverly divided their time between Block Island and Florida. He enjoyed being a member of the Block Island Lions Club and part of the Sticky Wicket Croquet club.

Throughout his life Jim was an avid reader and antiquarian. He enjoyed dressing in crazy patterned jackets, ties and slacks and even had a mink bow tie. He was an amateur genealogist who traced his family history back to England in 1066. A passionate golfer, he never understood how someone could play a game for nearly 50 years and still be terrible at it. As a lifelong sports enthusiast, he followed the New England Patriots, UConn Women’s basketball and his beloved New York Mets. He had a dry wit and sense of humor that was appreciated by everyone except his children. His love of traveling was only exceeded by his love of eating.

But more than anything, Jim enjoyed his family, along with their many pets.

Jim is survived by Beverly, his wife of 65 years, who he said is the best artist he ever knew and by his children Julie Sniffen and her husband Nat Beale, Lori (Sniffen) and Joe Linger, Heather Sniffen, Robin (Sniffen) and Richard Gould, Holly (Sniffen) Haringa, David Sniffen; 10 grand children; Carlson, Brendan and Loren Beale, Samuel and Anastasia Linger, Jacob and Cailin Buffenmyer, Jeffrey, Tammy and Amber Gould; and three great-grandsons: Dylan Keefe, and Luke and Dax Buffenmyer. He is also survived by his sister, Barbara Lord, and his two nieces, Karin Carlone and Heidi Lord.

The Sniffen family thanks Dr. Mark Clark and Linda Closter, RN, of the Block Island Medical Center and HOPE Hospice for their compassion and support that allowed Jim to remain in the comfort of his beloved island home.

A beach cookout with family and friends, one of Jim’s favorite activities, will be held at a later date to celebrate Jim’s life. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Island Free Library, Box 1830, Block Island, R.I. 02807.