Alumni Necrology

Thomas James Bigham, Jr. '83

Thomas James Bigham, Jr. '83, an architect practicing in Portland OR, was born on July 26, 1957, in New York City. He was the son of the Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Bigham, an Episcopal priest and longtime professor of ethics and moral theology at the General Theological Seminary in Manhattan, and Julia Scribner Bigham. "Jake" Bigham prepared for college at Salisbury School, where he was co-captain of the crew team. After only two weeks at the University of Massachusetts, he withdrew "because of its large size, too urbanized and computerized," and in 1978 came to Hamilton instead. He majored in art while on the Hill and earned his diploma in 1983.

Jake Bigham acquired a master's degree in 1996 from the University of Oregon School of Architecture and remained in Oregon to establish his practice in Portland. He also contributed his time and effort to area betterment as a member and former chairperson of the Oregon Investment Board, dedicated to supporting the economic development of the Columbia River Gorge. Recognized for his leadership qualities, he was recently appointed as a trustee of Northwest Academy in Portland, a boarding school for teenagers "at risk."

Known to family and friends for his ever-present sense of humor and his zest for life, Jake Bigham radiated a strong and gentle spirit that lifted the spirits of those around him. His humor, which encompassed a keen appreciation for the absurd, was perceptive and never derisive, and it stemmed from a generosity of heart.

On December 22, 2007, Thomas J. Bigham, Jr. was at Cabo Pulmo, Baja, Mexico, pursuing one of his great passions, windsurfing. An accident in extreme conditions off the coral reef ended his life. Surviving are his wife, Judith O'Connor, whom he had married in 1992, and their three daughters, Raina, Louisa, and Isabelle. He also leaves his three sisters, Hildreth McCarthy, Mary Binks, and Anne (Anda) Hutchins K'78.

Paul Robert Ross '83

Paul Robert Ross '83, a longtime teacher of English in Japan, was born on September 6, 1961, in New Rochelle, NY. A son of Paul R. and Mary Walker Ross, he grew up in nearby Larchmont and was graduated in 1979 from Mamaroneck High School. He entered Hamilton that year and concentrated his studies in English with a minor in religion. A guitar player who had a great love of music, especially jazz, blues, and folk, he was a regular performer at various "open mike" events on campus. Having compiled an excellent academic record, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received magna cum laude honors upon his graduation in 1983.

In early 1984, Paul Ross began his long sojourn in Japan, teaching at the Osaka School of English and other private schools while also studying Japanese. In 1996, he earned an M.A. in education, concentrating on English as a Second Language, from Temple University. A talented teacher and linguist, he was at the time of his death an associate professor at Konan University in Kobe. He had joined its faculty in 1997 and taught English and did research in applied linguistics and second-language acquisition.

Paul Ross was also a keen observer and student of modern Japanese culture. Although remaining a Mets-loving New Yorker, he developed a great affection for his adopted home city of Kyoto. He never tired of strolling through its streets, exploring and experiencing its rhythms and scenic variety.

Long ill, Paul R. Ross died in Kyoto on November 24, 2007. In addition to his wife, Misaki Nakano Ross, whom he had wed in Tokyo in 1992, he is survived by his mother, Mary Ross Carey; two brothers, Peter and Timothy Ross; and a sister, Amy Ross.

Contact Information

Stacey Himmelberger

Editor, Hamilton Alumni Review
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
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