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Home Obituaries In Memory: Rye High School Principal, Dr. Jim Rooney, Age 72

In Memory: Rye High School Principal, Dr. Jim Rooney, Age 72

Obituary - Jim RooneyCelebrating the wonderful life of Dr. Jim Rooney
October 16, 1948 – June 21, 2021

Dearest Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news of the passing of Dr. Jim Rooney. Jim passed away peacefully on Monday Jun 21st 2021, in the home that he loved, with his children Kevin and Flynn by his side.

For those of us who knew him, he was a passionate, kind and brilliant man. He loved people, hearing their stories, and in that spirit we would like to share his.

He was raised in the Parkchester section of the the Bronx, alongside his brother Bruce and his parents Margaret and James ‘Papi’ Rooney. Always passionate and optimistic about his home town, he later went on to write a book about the South Bronx predicting its inevitable ascendance.

In these early years, he spent his summers and weekends in Rocky Point Long Island, igniting in him a lifelong appreciation and love for the Atlantic Ocean, which lasted his entire life.

While attending Manhattan College, he was a fierce opponent to the Vietnam war. Despite having a high draft number, he took his civic responsibility as a would-be conscientious objector to heart. Jim voluntarily donated two years of his life to running a group home for at-risk inner city girls.

Jim then went on to be a Copy Boy at United Press International before finding his passion for teaching, eventually becoming principal at the Village School in Great Neck.

In his late 30’s, he decided to return to school, ultimately graduating with a doctorate in education from Harvard.

After graduating, he found his home in Rye High School, first starting as the Assistant Principal and eventually becoming Principal.

Jim was elated by his many accomplishments at Rye. These include the development of a writing program, as well as the creation and teaching of photography courses. However, there is nothing he was more proud of than hiring, “the best teachers in the country”.

Jim’s passing was proceeded by his wife Sharon Kaufman, and he is survived by his children and brother.

To commemorate this remarkable man, we have chosen to forego the typical funeral and instead have a celebration of his life this Friday June 25th from 5pm-7pm. We invite all of you to come and share your favorite stories of Jim. Please share something funny, touching, irreverent or anything else that highlights his personality and reveals his character.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Friday, June 25th, 2021 5pm-7pm
Kleinberg Funeral Services (Macken Mortuary, across from Ace Hardware)
3930 Long Beach Road
Island Park, NY 11558


  1. Very sad to hear. He was fine person, and an excellent principal, during the time my children were at the school

  2. Jim was creative, intelligent, innovative and kind. He brought a joy to Rye High School and will be fondly remembered by many.

  3. Jim Rooney was a fine, intelligent and compassionate leader. He made such a difference in the life of my son, whose strengths became increasingly apparent throughout his high-school years. I will miss his humor, his intellect, his kindness, strength, and guidance.

    I shall miss his spirit and leadership of a great school.

  4. We’re sorry to learn of Dr. Rooney’s passing. He was an outstanding person and a respected and beloved principal. Our kids have fond memories of Dr. Rooney.

  5. Our family is so very sorry to hear this news. Dr Rooney led all of us with humor and intellect and kindness. He navigated every situation with grace and we will always remember him. Condolences to his family and friends! With love from The Jamison Family ( jessica, Lauren,Jeffrey and Cristy)


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