James “Jamie” A. Cass, 65, passed away on September 18, 2019 at his home, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Springfield, Mass. on November 17, 1953 and was the son of the late James E. and Mary A. (Marcotrigiano) Cass.
An actor, director, and drama teacher, Jamie began his lifelong love of theater when he performed in Jesus Christ Superstar at Cathedral High School. He received a BFA from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University, and he went on to perform Off-Broadway in New York City and in regional theater.
Favorite roles, which he always recalled with joy, included Mike Hogan in A Moon for the Misbegotten, Claudius in Hamlet, Biff in Death of a Salesman, and Gooper in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Jamie performed in New York City at the West Bank Cafe, and he often spoke fondly of playing a Cubs fan, of “Cubbies Whooo!” fame, in the play Bleacher Bums.
Since 1994, Jamie taught in the Springfield public school system, first at Chestnut Middle School and most recently at Forest Park Middle School. He also directed after-school drama at numerous local programs, including through the Town of Longmeadow Parks and Recreation, where he founded the Summer Cool Theater Camp. Among his perennial favorite shows to direct were A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter Pan, and Treasure Island.
“Corny is cool,” Jamie often told his students—a reminder that through theater they were free to be themselves, to let their guard down and find acceptance and community. He is remembered dearly by a host of young performers whose love of theater he encouraged.
In his spare time, Jamie was a flourishing philatelist (stamp collector) as well as an avid rock collector and fisherman. He was a member of the American Philatelic Society and served as a board member on the Longmeadow Cultural Council. He also collected business cards, ticket stubs, and other ephemera, from which he created scrapbooks and artwork. He delighted in sharing his creations and collections with friends and family, and was beloved for his great sense of fun and many clever quips.
Jamie is remembered with love by his wife of 24 years, Regina F. (Doyle) Cass of Longmeadow; his son Ian J. Cass of Longmeadow; brother Michael Cass and his wife Ellee of Springfield; sister-in-law Christine Poulin and her husband Daniel; sister-in-law Denise Collins and her husband Craig; brother-in-law Kevin Doyle and his wife Jane; as well as his nieces Jennifer Crane, Moira Doyle, Katherine Doyle, Maddie Collins, Maggie Doyle, and Emma Collins.
Family and friends are invited to a memorial mass on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 11 A.M. at Sacred Heart Church, 395 Chestnut Street, Springfield.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or via www.dana-farber.org/gift. For more information or to leave an online condolence, please visit www.forastiere.com