James Douglas “Jimmy” LaCroix, a 30-year employee at Boston College, died on February 18. He was 57.

A funeral Mass will be held for Mr. LaCroix on February 24 at 11 a.m. in St. Joseph’s Church, 1382 Highland Ave., Needham, Mass.

James Douglas LaCroix

James Douglas LaCroix at his retirement party in 2017.

Mr. LaCroix was born with Down syndrome, but his parents, Arthur and Marjorie, rejected doctors’ recommendation for permanent institutional care and kept him at home in Needham along with their three other children. He learned to swim the width of an Olympic-size pool by age three and to row a small boat by age five.

Mr. LaCroix began his formal education in the Charles River Workshop, then entered the Needham Public Schools. He was a graduate of Needham High School and a member of the varsity swim team. After completing a two-year vocational technical program at Minuteman High School in Lexington, Mass., he was hired by Boston College as one of the first members of the University’s Supported Employment Program  and worked in a variety of jobs in Dining Services, Facilities, and Buildings and Grounds.

During his 30 years at BC, Mr. LaCroix lived in a specialized housing residence in Brookline, attending church regularly and traveling in and around Boston by public transportation and foot.

He retired from BC in 2017 and was feted at a farewell party on campus along with fellow SEP member Kevin Browne, who had started work at the University the same year as Mr. LaCroix. In an interview with Chronicle shortly after his retirement, Mr. LaCroix reminisced about his time at BC, and said being there meant more than just a job: He liked the feeling of “working together as a team—everybody treated me well and helped me out.” He cited several members of the Corcoran Commons kitchen staff as among his favorite coworkers: “I liked listening to them and doing things together: teamwork.”

Mr. LaCroix was predeceased by his parents and brother Steven. He is survived by his sisters Jeannine Mara and Suzanne Vreeland, brothers-in-law John Mara and John Vreeland, and sister-in-law Kim LaCroix.

University Communications | February 2023