James Robert McCabe

James Robert McCabe passed away surrounded by his family.

McCabe was born on April 14, 1945 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the third child of Thomas and Alice McCabe. At the age of five his family moved to the family’s home in Aurora where he spent his formative years goofing off with his brother Rich.

McCabe graduated from Aurora Central High School in 1963. After his mother said “Go to college or join the Navy,” he began his career as a pioneer in early childhood education. He acquired an undergraduate degree from Western State College in 1967, a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1971, an educational specialist degree from UNC in 1981, and his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 1996.

McCabe took his first job teaching science at Strasburg High School in 1967 and later became principal. In 1976, he became principal at West Yuma Middle School and later transitioned to assistant superintendent for the district. In 1987, McCabe became superintendent of the Lake County School District. McCabe was then hired in 1994 as the associate superintendent for the Littleton School District. He completed his career as the superintendent of Englewood Schools.

Some of McCabe’s career highlights include the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education in 1990. He was a member of Yale University’s National Faculty from 1989-1995. He implemented The Center Early Childhood Project in 1989. McCabe was also named the Colorado Superintendent of the Year in 1992.

McCabe said his greatest accomplishment in life was his family. He married his junior high school sweetheart, Claire Richards, in 1965. They had four children: Patrick (1969), Rodney (1971), Jennifer (1973), and Kate (1976). The family has since expanded to include daughters-in-law Keri (Pat) and Kirsten (Rod) and son-in-law Todd Lentz (Jenn).

McCabe received a life-saving liver transplant in October of 1999 for an autoimmune liver disease. This allowed McCabe to get to know his 11 grandchildren who his family said were the apples of his eye.

McCabe had numerous interests and didn’t have the ability to do anything halfway. He was the Aurora City ping-pong champion as a youth and won a state title in bowling in middle school. He was a gymnast in high school and loved handball and racquetball in college. McCabe was an avid golfer and won the club championship when living in Leadville. He enjoyed bird hunting and fishing and loved the Arkansas and Eagle Rivers.

McCabe was a craftsman of stained glass; his largest project was four windows that hang in the First Presbyterian Church in Yuma. He was also an active member of the Presbyterian Church. The Colorado Rockies were his favorite professional team, his grandchildren were his favorite athletes and he had a lifelong love of cars.

McCabe was preceded in death by his father Thomas Junior McCabe, and his mother Alice May (Vernon). He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Claire, his sister Patricia Hood (Milton); his brother Richard (Julie); his son Patrick and Keri (Korf); granddaughters Robbie, Molly, and Emma; his son Rodney and Kirsten (Taylor); grandsons Noah, Nathan, and Griffin; daughter Jennifer and Todd Lentz; grandchildren Alexandra, Rachel, Evangeline and Theodore; daughter Kate and grandson Grayson; seven nieces and nephews; and a multitude of lifelong friends.

Memorial services are pending; check the funeral home website for announcement of the service details as they become available.

In lieu of flowers, contribution may be made to St. James Presbyterian Preschool, 3601 West Belleview Ave., Littleton, CO, 80123 www.sjpreschool.org. or to Lttleton Public Schools Foundation, 5776 S. Crocker St., Littleton, CO, 80120, www.littletonpublicschools.net/spsf.

Condolences can be left on Jim’s Tribute Wall by going online at www.EllisFamilyServices.com.

Arrangements are in the care of Ellis Family Services, Funeral and Memorial Care, Littleton, Colorado.