James Patrick Meachen
October 17, 1957 – November 15, 2023
James Patrick Meachen, currently of West Boylston MA, died surrounded by his wife and children on November 15, 2023 following a brief illness. Jim was born in Mastic Beach on Long Island, New York. He was 66 years old. He is survived by his wife of 41 wonderful years, Cheryl Lyn (French) Meachen, his daughter Christina Catino, her husband Marc, and their son Codey; as well as his son Joshua Meachen and Josh’s longtime girlfriend Jenna Arcand. Jim is also survived by a brother, Thomas Meachen and his wife Sharon, nephews Tom and Jason, Matt and Ryan, and a niece Kelly. He is predeceased by his brother Forrest “Butch” Meachen, and parents James H. and Veronica R. Meachen.
Jim’s family moved to Andover, NH when he was 10 where he had a beloved horse named Babe and three (big) pigs. He graduated from Kearsarge Regional High School in 1975 where he played soccer and especially enjoyed his classes in culinary arts. Jim enlisted in the Air Force just out of high school and was a security police officer hoping to specialize in working with canines.
Jim was devoted to his family. He met Cheryl in the fall of 1981 and they married in the summer of 1982. He cherished his wife and let her know that through kind words, unwavering support, and loving acts each day. Jim brought his daughter Christi to dance classes, attended every recital, as well as concerts where she sang or played cello, and supervised many field trips, always her biggest cheerleader. He coached his son Josh’s basketball and soccer teams at a variety of levels, inspired him to excel at karate, and shared his love of motorcycles. He was a beloved “second dad” to many of their friends. He was incredibly supportive of everything each of them did. His son-in-law shares, “I can't even express how just knowing him has influenced and made my own life better. Never met a more genuine soul.”
Jim had a variety of jobs over the years, always related to police work. He was a police officer in Loudon, NH, Andover, NH, and Winchester, NH, as well as a deputy sheriff in Merrimack County, NH and Windham County, VT. His Winchester PD partner recalls, “He was my ‘6’ on many shifts on patrol, always knew a friendly had my back.” He worked security at Concord (NH) and Cheshire (Keene, NH) hospitals, especially enjoying opportunities to comfort those he guarded or help them understand the importance of treating others well. He worked on college campuses including Colby Sawyer College (New London, NH) and New Hampshire Technical Institute (Concord, NH). One of his favorite students recalls, “I would never forget our convo during my freshman year,” and many tell stories of his kindness and positive influence even during challenging times. He did loss prevention work, catching shoplifters, for Zayre, King’s, Shaws, and The Bon-Ton, all in Concord, NH. He was recognized many times by The Bon-Ton as the top performer in the Northeast Region. He did bodyguard and team safety work for Alice Cooper, Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord, Ariana Grande, President George H.W. Bush, and (then) Prince Charles.
Jim had been a member of Horace Chase Masonic Lodge in Penacook, NH, a member of the Police Square Club, the NH Camping Travelers, the Blue Knights Police Motorcycle Club, and the Red Knights Firefighter Motorcycle Club, participating in meetings as well as delighting in motorcycle rides across the winding roads of the Northeast.
He enjoyed walking the fine line between red and blue as a volunteer firefighter serving both in the footsteps of his beloved dad. He was a firefighter in the Andover, NH, Guilford, VT, and Sunapee, NH Fire Departments. A fellow firefighter tells the story, “Picture this: a medical call in the wee hours of the morning, dispatched for a victim of assault and I am the only one responding….. low and behold here comes Jim!! I said to him “but you're not medical” and he replies with “ and you're not going into hostile territory alone!!”
He loved everyone, notably the Dunkin’ workers (in every town he lived) who knew him so well they would have his iced coffee ready and on the counter before he even walked through the doors. When notified of his death, the West Boylston Dunkin’ employees gathered around in a group hug, leaving customers to back up in line while they grieved together saying they loved him and that he was “an important customer,” posting his photo at the table where he sat with friends each weekday morning before work.
In every church where Jim served as the "pastor’s spouse," he would warmly welcome regulars and newcomers alike. So many have posted about his friendly and caring hugs. One friend shares, “The man who always welcomed me with open arms every time I seen him. There is no other. May God receive Jim as he received me.”
A Memorial Service including a Masonic ritual and American Legion flag line will be held at the Oakdale United Methodist Church (), 15 North Main Street, West Boylston where Jim was a beloved member on Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 11:00 am. A motorcycle ride beginning at Oakdale UMC with the Red Knights, Blue Knights, American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders will arrive at the NH State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, NH on May 17, 2024 at 11:00 am where there will be an interment of Jim’s remains and military honors.
Memorial donations may be made to the Sunapee NH Fire Department at 9 Sargent Rd, Sunapee, NH 03782 or the Winchester NH Police Department at 6 Parker St, Winchester, NH 03470.