NAUGATUCK — Borough officials fondly remembered the life of Board of Education member James Jordan and his impact on the community.
Jordan, 46, died on Monday due to complications from a brain tumor.
“Jim was an amazing person. He was a great friend to many,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said. “He was a very devoted community servant and, more importantly, he was an amazing husband and father, son and brother.”
Mezzo said his prayers are with Jordan’s family.
Jordan was diagnosed at the end of December with a glioblastoma multiform, an aggressive, malignant brain tumor, the same kind of tumor that claimed the life of his father and uncle. Since then, the community has supported the Jordan family in several ways, including in the form of a pasta dinner fundraiser at which hundreds of people attended and raised several thousands of dollars for the family.
Last month, Jordan attended a Board of Education meeting and talked at length with several in the audience. He was in good spirits and discussed his decision to remain on the board while undergoing treatment.
That, according to Mezzo, was par for the course for Jordan.
“Jim always conducted himself with dignity and compassion, and his devotion to his community was always selfless and with good intentions,” Mezzo said.
Jordan, a Democrat, was the longtime treasurer on the Naugatuck Democratic Town Committee. A lifelong Naugatuck resident, he loved the community and constantly worked to improve it, said his wife, Colleen Jordan, a teacher at City Hill Middle School.
“He would invite people over the house to discuss issues with them and educate them on the facts of particular issues,” she said. “He believed in the community and was very dedicated toward improving it.”
She said he was a great husband and father to their two children, James, 11, and Rylee, 8.
Jordan worked as an accounting manager at Unger Enterprises Inc. in Bridgeport by day and volunteered during his free time with different borough organizations and borough boards
Jordan served on the Planning Commission for eight years, where he was the chairman for the majority of time. Most recently Jordan served on the Board of Education, a position he held for the past five years. He served as the chairman of the board’s finance subcommittee since 2011.
When he was running for re-election to the school board in 2013, Jordan said he was running again because he believed that education is the single most important component necessary to children’s development and future success.
Jordan was respected by Democrats and Republicans alike, according to several officials.
Board of Education Chairman David Heller, a Republican, said he only knew Jordan for a short time, but that Jordan left a great impression on him.
“I only knew Jim since he became a member of the Board of Education. However, I am so very fortunate to have known him and to have been a small part of his wonderful adult life,” Heller said in a statement. “The minute I first met him I was amazed by his passion for his family and for everything that he did and was involved with.”
Heller said Jordan loved being involved with the Board of Education and worked tirelessly at every task he undertook.
“He had an incredible ability to engage people and motivate them to get involved with a particular issue or purpose,” Heller said. “Our community and each of us are better today because we had the good fortune to share our lives with Jim Jordan.”
Republican Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi called Jordan “a tireless supporter of all that is good in this community.”
“Jim wasn’t always in the front of things,” she said. “Often he was in the back room, strategizing and planning, but one thing you were always certain of — if it was something that was good for Naugatuck, he was all in.”
Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke, who began working in the borough in July, said she first got to know what type of person Jordan was during the 2014-15 budget and referendum process.
“I listened as he defended the importance of education and of adequately funding our schools,” Locke said. “I quickly grew to admire and anticipate his quick wit and sense of humor.”
Locke said his passing is a big loss for the community and the school district.
In addition to remembering Jordan, Locke encouraged the community to assist his family.
“The job of us as a school community will be to make sure we take really good care of Colleen and the kids. The community Jim gave so much to will be here to support them,” Locke said.
At Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Burgesses meeting, Mezzo called for a moment of silence to remember Jordan.
“… His goodness will live-on in all those lives he touched,” Mezzo said.
Services will be held Monday and Tuesday. Official details will be released in the form of an obituary in the coming days.