Jim Lovell was heading into Manhattan Sunday morning, to begin work on the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. He was killed along with three others in Metro-North's tragic derailment. Here's what he's being remembered for:
1. Lovell Worked for 20 Years on NBC's 'The Today Show'
Lovell worked as an audio technician on NBC's "Today Show" for more than two decades.
The show's producer Don Nash wrote in a memo to staff that James was "...not only a skilled technician, but also one of the nicest guys you ever met. You may have seen him working at many of our outdoor concerts. He always had a smile on his face and was quick to share a friendly greeting."
This morning, Matt Lauer offered a brief remembrance of Lovell, and condolences to his family on the "Today Show" broadcast:
2. He was a Father to Four Children
Lovell is survived by sons Finn, Hudson, and Jack, and daughter Brooke.
Finn, a member of Poughkeepsie-based hardcore band "Tribute",
characterized the loss as "an awful nightmare", writing on an instagram photo of his father:
"“Word(s) can’t express how much my father meant to me. It’s safe to say he molded me into the man I am today. I love you and miss you. I can’t believe you’re gone. This feels like an awful nightmare that I can’t wake up from."
Hours later, Finn argued that his father should be remembered for the way he lived, not the way he died, tweeting:
I wasn't the son of a "victim". I am the son of Jim Lovell. I hope to be even half of the man he was. I am so blessed and proud of you dad.
— Finna Finn (@Finnsux) December 2, 2013
3. His Wife is a Councilwoman in Phillipstown, New York
Lovell's wife Nancy Montgomery has been on the Phillipstown Town Council since 2007, and was appointed Deputy Supervisor in 2010. Among the iniatives Montgomery advocates for on her official facebook page are transitioning to a greener economy, increasing voter registration, and building a new senior center to improve quality of life for the elderly of Phillipstown.
4. Lovell Was a Survivor of Both Open Heart Surgery & Cancer
Close friend Richard Shea told the Putnam County Courier that Lovell had survived open heart surgery and a cancer scare five years prior to his death.
5. He Was Working on a Military History of Upstate New York
According to family friend Richard Shea, besides working as a screenwriter and lighting/audio producer for theater and television, Lovell was also an avid historian of the upstate New York area where he was raised, and was writing a book on the subject at the time of his death.
Above all else though, Shea remembers Lovell as a father and family man: "They lived on the lake. I was watching him do backflips off the diving board with his boys, hiking with his boys, doing whatever they wanted. He was one of the boys."