James Prentice Memorial Fund

James Prentice Memorial Fund

In Memoriam

James F. Prentice, 1953 - 2020

On December 8, 2020, the Harpers Ferry Park Association and National Park Service lost a longtime volunteer, steward, pioneer of their Certified Guide Program, and dear friend. 

There are few people who have given as much time, knowledge, and support to Harpers Ferry and the National Park Service. A true child of the NPS, Jim was born in a national park (Perry's Victory National Monument, Put-in-Bay, Ohio) and grew up in national parks at Hopewell Furnace, PA, Harpers Ferry, WV, and Washington DC. At Hopewell, he had his first performance in front of the public as a 7-year-old blacksmith's helper.

In 1961, his dad, J.R. Prentice, was named superintendent of Harpers Ferry National Monument. Lower Town became his home, and he became a lifelong student of its history. A construction contractor for over 30 years, Jim began volunteering at Harpers Ferry NHP in 2009 at the time of the John Brown Raid Sesquicentennial. In 2013, he became one of the first Harpers Ferry Certified Park Guides. Over the next 7 years he helped build the guide program and gave tours to thousands of visitors.

Jimmy loved a good debate with the park rangers at Harpers Ferry. He could be stubborn and mischievous. But he always had the best interest of the park and its visitors in his heart. And he always stood proudly in his volunteer or park guide uniform. 

HFPA has established a James Prentice Memorial Fund in his honor. Donations will be used to pay living allowances for park interns—the next generation of park stewards and advocates—or fund other volunteer-related programs.

Publication Date: