James Anthony Rathbun of Oak Bluffs died peacefully at home on June 4. He was 56.

James grew up in Scituate and graduated from Scituate High School, class of 1978. He attended New England College in Henniker, N.H. from 1979 to 1980 and later in life took many classes at UMass Amherst.

An eternal student, James loved philosophy and psychology. He had a deep interest in the work of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Robert Bly. He was a Shakespeare enthusiast. He also studied Earth sciences and was interested in environmental issues.

He was an adventurer at heart and enjoyed meeting people of different cultures. He spent time in the Caribbean and remote areas of the Orinoco River delta in Venezuela, and last winter stayed in the village of Taganga on the Atlantic coast of Columbia with friends from Martha’s Vineyard.

James was a salt-water fisherman through and through. He was digging clams in the marshes of Scituate by the time he was 10 years old, and fixing up wooden boats by 12. He lobstered out of Cohasset Harbor for several years and participated in almost all of the commercial fisheries in and around Martha’s Vineyard in the 1980s and ‘90s. He was aboard a New Bedford dragger which survived the “perfect storm” in October 1991. He lived aboard his own 32-foot wooden lobster boat in Vineyard Haven Harbor for a number of years.

He was a passionate wooden boat enthusiast and always had some sort of wooden boat restoration project going on. He spent a lot of time at the Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway boat shop learning the craft of wooden boat building.

James also loved ice skating. Any time the ponds froze in winter James was skating and playing pond hockey. He volunteered at the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls club teaching kids to skate.

He was a renaissance man who made friends wherever he went. He was a good storyteller with a wonderful sense of humor. He counted among his friends celebrities, writers, and artists, as well as the most humble of homeless people. All were treated with the same respect. He leaves behind many close friends on Martha’s Vineyard, the Amherst/North Hampton area, and Scituate and Cohasset.

He was the son of the late Paul and Ruth Rathbun of Scituate. He leaves one brother, Paul Rathbun of Lakeville,, and two sisters, Janet Bogart of Saco, Me. and Cynthia Paglierani of Osterville. He was predeceased by a sister, Mary Webb of Falmouth, and a brother, Mark Rathbun, also of Falmouth.

There will be an informal memorial get-together for friends and family at 34 Massasoit Avenue in Oak Bluffs on Monday, August 15 from 4:20 to 7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, P.O. Box 654, Edgartown, MA 02539 or mvbgclub.org.