Obituary: James Gorman Hagan (1937-2023)

Former Senator James Gorman Hagan, 85, of Little Compton died peacefully, surrounded by his family, at the Hope Health Hulitar Hospice Center on Jan. 13, 2023.

He was the son of the late Joseph Henry Hagan and Claire Gorman Hagan.

Jim grew up in the Oak Hill Platt, Pawtucket, and attended Lasalle Academy, Class of 1954. He would later be inducted to the LaSalle Hall of Fame in 2008.

Jim graduated from his beloved Providence College in 1958 where he served as president of his class for four consecutive years. He was a Faithful Friar, serving as the president of the Alumni Association and longtime member of the President’s Council.

He was also a season ticket holder for Friar basketball for over 60 years, converting his family and friends into devoted fans. Go Friars!

After college, Jim served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps and then launched his passion for politics, first as president of the North Smithfield Town Council, then as a five term Rhode Island State Senator. His wife Sheila serving as his de facto campaign manager and consigliere.

For 27 years Jim served as senior vice president in the international division of Tupperware Worldwide where he traveled to 32 countries and 45 states. Upon leaving Tupperware, he combined his love of business and politics by becoming the president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce for nearly 20 years.

In that capacity, he also served as the former president of the New England Chamber of Commerce Executives Association and the vice-chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Association.

During that time he worked closely with Buddy Cianci on the ‘Providence Renaissance’ taking great pride in being part of the team that created such Providence staples as Waterfire, the television show “Providence,” the R.I. convention center, and the R.I. Business Expo.

After retirement, he stayed busy, becoming the moderator of the “Lively Experiment” on PBS for five years, where he interviewed top newsmakers in the state. Jim created and produced the New England Golf Expo, with all the proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club.

With his sparkling blue eyes and Irish wit, Jim made everyone he encountered feel like they were lifelong friends. He had a fierce passion for golf. He was a member and former director of the Sakonnet Golf Club, a member of the Sakonnet Point Club and a longtime member of the University Club

During his career, Jim received the U.S. Senator John H Chafee Distinguished Citizen Award, as well as the North Smithfield Citizen of the Year Award. He served as a board member of Collete Vacations, Sovereign Bank, the Northern R.I. Advisory Board of Fleet Bank and a corporator of the Woonsocket Institution for Savings.

Jim was a true family man and his family cherished him.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Sheila, as well as his two children Kelly Hagan (husband Richard Lumazza) and James M Hagan (wife Stephanie).

His only grandchild Mia Hagan Lumazza was the center of his world. She adored her Papa Jim.

He is also survived by his brother Joseph P Hagan (wife Patricia) and their son, Kevin, and his family.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral mass at St. Catherine’s By the Sea, 74 Simmons Road, Little Compton, on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 11 a.m., followed immediately by a reception.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Hagan Scholarship Fund at Providence College (c/o Office of Annual Giving Harkins Hall, Room 412, One Cunningham Square. Providence, RI 02918-0001.



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