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Robert C. James
NEWPORT - Robert Campbell (Zup) James,

82, died Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at Newport Hospital after a two-year fight with esophageal cancer.
Born in New York, New York on February 29, 1928 he was the youngest of five children of Oliver B. and Angela James.
Mr. James prepared for college at Groton School, Class of 1946, then still inspiring young men to public service. He graduated with the Class of 1950 from Yale, where he was elected member of the Elizabethan Club, with a B.A. degree in Classics. With much of his class he joined the U.S. Army and served in the Korean War. Thereafter he joined the fledgling CIA and served successively in the late 1950s and early 1960s on Quemoy, the Chinese offshore island then under bombardment, in Laos and Bangkok. In his later career at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia he devoted his energies and experience to liaison with the British intelligence services, becoming friends with many of their most senior officers. His service in Luang Prabang, Laos where he traveled inconspicuously around by elephant gave rise to many colorful stories, if not a legend, repeated since in historical accounts. His friendship there with Premier Prince Sovanna Phouma was instrumental in moving forward the Peace Talks in Paris to end the
war in Laos in 1962.
After retirement, Mr. James moved to Newport from Washington, D.C. in the early 1990s, nestling into a Newport Restoration Foundation House at 41 Mill Street which was to display his beautiful collection of Asian antiquities while serving as a setting for entertaining his many friends. His signature dinners for eight invariably began with caviar and, after a leisurely progression, ended with a ginger souffl. They afforded full range to the cosmopolitan conversation he brought to Newport and the distinctive repartee salted with wit, peppered with anecdote and enlivened with limericks at which he excelled. He enjoyed himself as much he enjoyed his friends. His favorite expression, Isnt it marvelous! an echo from an earlier day or some forgotten musical, was as much coda for himself as prescription for others.
His choice book will go to his favorite institution, The Redwood Library and Athenaeum, where he served for two terms on the Board and was an ornament to its Library committee for many years. He also involved himself closely with The Newport Reading Room, serving on many committees and imparting the Eleusinian mysteries of that venerable club to younger members encountering for the first time a Huntsman Saville Row Suite, the tigers tooth and his gold watch chain or a Greek epigram.
His marriage to Ruth Pratt ended in amicable divorce. He is survived by his longtime companion, Marianne Spottswoode McLane, six nephews, O.B. James, J. Lawrence, Eugene and Daniel Pool, and Oliver and Samuel Janney and several devoted godchildren.
A Memorial Service at Trinity Church is planned for Friday, April 29, 2011 at 11 a.m.

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