James "Jim" R. Pepperling Jr., 86 of Jacksonville Beach passed away on Saturday, April 11, 2020 at the McCraw Center for Caring of Community Hospice. Jim was born on March 30, 1934 in Wilkes-Barre, PA where he then grew up. He graduated from King's College with degrees in education and drama. He then moved to New York City and took a job teaching English and directing high school drama students. As side jobs, he waited tables and took up modeling so he could save money to begin realizing his life-long dream to see the world.
He began searching for teaching positions in the international community and was hired by International School Services. His first assignment was at a school outside of Tokyo, Japan and over the next 40 years he accepted other assignments in Syria and India. Jim was not only a skilled educator, he also excelled in administrative work, and helped many schools to expand their curriculums. During the summers Jim traveled frequently to Spain and back to the US. He continued his own education and earned a post graduate degree in education. Jim was passionate about teaching English, grammar, and literature and he continued to direct drama programs for his students. At one school he was the director of the boy's residence for the children of high-ranking international diplomats. During a time of significant turmoil in that part of the world, Jim became a friend and a mentor to many of his students. He made friends that maintained contact with him long after they left the school. A former student who became the superintendent of a New Jersey school district said about Jim, "Mr. Pepperling changed my life and the lives of others. The lessons learned were greater than the literature; they were about the great and not so great world and our positions within it, as active participants."
In 1992 Jim returned to the US and after considering many possible locations, decided to live in Jacksonville Beach. He took an adjunct professor position at the University of North Florida and taught upper level education classes. Upon his retirement from UNF Jim joined the Auxiliary at Baptist Medical Center Beaches and began his final career. For the next 25 years Jim was an avid supporter of the hospital and a dedicated volunteer. He held many leadership positions in the Auxiliary including membership chairman and vice president, and he served two terms as the Auxiliary president. He served in volunteer positions for multiple hospital services and may have been best known as the Friday morning volunteer receptionist in the administration office.
An only child, Jim was predeceased by his parents and claimed no other relatives. He had many friends from all over the world, and in the local community of Jacksonville. His energy, his sense of humor, his flight of ideas, his ability to laugh at himself, and his passion for education and volunteerism will be missed by all who knew him.
No services are planned at this time. In honor of Jim, please consider a donation to the Auxiliary of Baptist Medical Center Beaches, 1350 13th Avenue South, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hawke M.T. Forbes and H.M. "Hank" Forbes Jr. of Forbes Funeral Home, Macclenny. "With Your Family In Mind". 904-259-4600. Please leave your thoughts and condolences in the online guestbook at www.forbesfuneralhome.net.
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