A Touch of Comfort

Helping Cancer Patients Feel at Home

In Memoriam

R.I.P Soopah Man:
from The Improper Bostonian

Jim Pite

I first met Jim Pite as the recipient of one of his sales cold calls. He was working for a local marketing firm pitching a product called Airmiles over the phone. Not needing his product, I accepted the call and wound up arguing for the next hour why The Improper didn't need what he was selling. As I left the phone exhausted from the conversation (and not at all unsure that Airmiles wasn't the new new thing), I vowed if he ever left his job to hire him.

Six months later, he joined The Improper as our V.P. of Sales and Marketing and played a critical role in the survival and success of the publication. For the next seven years working here and for his one year after leaving the company, he inspired us with his unbreakable will, strong work ethic and infinite spirit.

Shortly after Jim began at The Improper, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes. For most, this would have signaled the end of an active lifestyle, but for Jim, he seemed to treat the disease like a minor inconvenience. Holding sales meetings at his hospital bedside and making client calls the day he emerged from his bone marrow transplant, Jim managed remarkably during his ensuing years to juggle a full time career, a seven night per week social life, regular weekend travel, quality time with his many friends and family; all while undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy, several operations, regular hospitalization and all the other "inconveniences" that go with being a cancer patient. Surprisingly, he also accomplished more in the workplace than most of the staff.

As strange as it sounds, Jim demonstrated a knack for making cancer look good. He was constantly having fun, didn't seem overworked or tired, was perpetually cheery and never complained or sought sympathy for his illness. His active lifestyle and courage in the face of adversity made him the envy of his friends. He made no effort to hide his illness from others and could often be spotted at places like Sonsie at 2/3 of his normal weight, clad in a bandana to cover his bald head. Regardless of how he looked, he never shrunk from being the center of attention - always outgoing and talkative, constantly making new friends.

Jim's uncanny way of sizing up any situation: "Soopah," he would say, meaning things are super, though to those around him, things seemed anything but. However, in his presence and exposed to his indomitable spirit, things were always soopah.

Tufts University:
from Tuftonia Magazine

When Jim Pite, A86, died on November 16 after a six-and- a-half year battle with cancer, he left a heartfelt legacy. For Jim, life could have revolved around his own efforts to regain his health and to maintain a cheerful attitude during months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, two bone marrow transplants and months of isolation. But he also thought of others. Shortly before his death in Boston, he founded A Touch of Comfort: Helping Cancer Patients Feel at Home.

"To me, Jim was just unceasingly challenging and engaging, and full of constant energy and thoughts," says Katie Finn. "He absolutely could not look at something and see it for what it was; he was positively compelled to see it for what it could be. His charity is without a doubt an extension of this part of him."

At Tufts, Jim was on the football and rugby teams, an honors graduate, an active brother and social chairman at Delta Upsilon fraternity. His brother David, A85 at Tufts, was also a member of Delta Upsilon, and captain of the swim team.

At Tufts, "Jim was a vibrant, athletic, upbeat and spirited young man," said men's swim coach Don Megerle. "My quiet times are spent thinking about Jim whose legacy will live on in the hearts of those who knew him and loved him."

"Jim will be greatly missed and fondly remember by all those he knew at Tufts," said David. "He was extremely popular and a very funny guy. My family and I would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of sympathy and concern expressed to us since his untimely death. In particular, we will always remember that more than twenty Tufts DU brothers attended his funeral service on very short notice, and that dozens of other Tufts alumni either attended his service or sent along their condolences. We intend to keep his charity going as a continuing tribute to him..."