Dr. James R. Hastings, 91

OSWEGO, NY – Dr. James R. Hastings, 91, a resident of Springside at Seneca Hill in the town of Volney, passed away peacefully at Oswego Hospital, Friday morning July 16, 2010.

He was born in Taber, Alberta, Canada, to parents Charles and Christina (Jackson) Hastings.

Dr. James R. Hastings
Dr. James R. Hastings

They returned to the family home in Walton, NY, where Jim attended school, graduating from Walton High School in 1937.

He selected Oswego Normal School for his college as it was regarded as the best school for industrial arts in the country.

During his college years, he was treasurer of the student council, was inducted into Epsilon Pi Tau (an honor society), and became a member of Beta Tau Epsilon, a social fraternity.

Upon graduation in 1941, Jim accepted his first teaching position at Cobleskill Central School.

In 1942, Jim joined the Air Force and reported to Yale University for aeronautical engineering officers’ training as a second lieutenant.

He spent most of his military career stationed in Boca Raton, Florida.

After leaving active service, Jim became an active reserve officer for the next 20 years, retiring from the reserves as a major.

Major Hastings continued his involvement with the reserves as a member of the Central New York Chapter of Retired Officers.

Dr. Ralph Swetman, then president of Oswego, personally recruited Jim in 1946 to teach industrial arts.

In the early 1950s, Jim earned his Doctorate in Education from New York University.

When he returned to Oswego, he played a major role in expanding the industrial arts curriculum to include more professional courses.

During his 37-year career at Oswego, Jim was also editor of Viewpoint Magazine, conducted summer institutes for the blind, and worked with the handicapped dealing with vocational rehabilitation.

In addition to his 20 years as chairman of the department’s field study program, Dr. Hastings secured a half-million dollars in research funds for the college, primarily to develop courses that matched industries’ needs.

Jim participated in 11 professional organizations, and in 1969 he oversaw a Defense Department program in Frankfort, Germany, that focused on providing an education to the children of US servicemen.

Dr. Hastings retired from the college in 1978 as a Professor Emeritus.

The following year, the college recognized him for his work in the professional development of the student teaching program by having an award given out each year, in his name, to a deserving student.

Among his other many honors and awards, Dr. Hastings was a consultant to the Singer Corp., and the American Foundation for the Blind.

During his retirement, Jim enjoyed participation in many civic and alumni organizations.

He was one of the founding members of the Oswego Garden Club and served on the board of the Heritage Foundation, where he organized the first antique show/sale at Harborfest.

He was a charter member of the Emeriti Association of SUNY-Oswego, where he also served two terms as president.

He was an active participant in the Meals on Wheels program and drove patients for treatment for both the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross.

Jim taught a “55 Alive’ safe driving course for AARP.

In his spare time he loved golf, and was a member of the Oswego Country Club.

Jim also enjoyed bowling, photography, and was an avid gardener.

Jim is survived by his wife of 65 years, Nina R. (Livaccari) Hastings; his son and daughter-in-law, James R. Hastings Jr. and Susan Cochran of Tacoma Wash.; his daughter and son-in-law, Caryl H. Hoffman and Paul D. Hoffman of Bradford, Mass.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by two sisters, Beth DeSilva and Leona Shaw.

A memorial mass will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday in St. Mary’s Church.

Interment will be in All Saints’ Mausoleum, St. Peter’s Cemetery.

Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Dain-Cullinan Funeral Home, 112 E. Second St., Oswego.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The James and Nina Hastings Scholarship Fund, c/o the Development Dept. at SUNY-Oswego.