James Roy Rahaim was born on January 23rd, 1957 in Gardner, Massachusetts and passed away on September 2nd, 2020 in Tucson, Arizona. His parents were Hazel Mae (née MacDonald) and Robert Rahaim. He is survived by his wife, Ingrid and daughters Christina and Steff, as well as his sisters Connie, Sue and Judy and his brother Robert.
James served in the Air Force as Teletype Specialist, attaining the rank of Senior Airman from 1981-1983. For part of his service he was stationed in Germany, where he took advantage of his location to travel throughout Europe. He also spent time working at Rockwell International where he met Ingrid. Connected by their technical backgrounds and a strong desire to raise children, they married in 1985 and in the following years Christina and Steff were born.
During his daughters’ childhood, James successfully raised them and ran his own architectural design business while Ingrid worked outside the home. His status as stay-at-home father earned him a small amount of local fame, and the traditional role reversal fueled a lifelong fire in his children to challenge the status quo and focus on what is good and right rather than what is expected.
Eventually he was offered a position at FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a program that aims to inspire young people in the technical arts via annual high school robotics competitions. Ever the competent generalist, at FIRST James combined his background in mechanical and electrical engineering and his experience in computer hardware and software with a cause he believed in. His technical and people skills both earned him a reputation such that asking for him by full name at competitions was less effective than simply asking for James, or at most “James from FIRST”. James retired from FIRST when he and Ingrid moved from Amherst, New Hampshire, where they raised their family, to Tucson, Arizona, where the weather and the neighbours both agreed nicely with his disposition.
In his spare time James fished, deeply appreciated nature (despite his self-proclaimed title of “The Dr. Kevorkian of Plant Life”), and spent a lot of time cooking for and with his family, including establishing several culinary traditions and successfully tinkering with gluten-free baking. He set an example as a family man unafraid of ignoring outdated gender roles and a scholar and creator who could figure out anything he set his mind to. He will be missed.