BELMONT — Jamie Oates, of Belmont, Maine, passed away on April 14, 2021 at Eastern Maine Medical Center, in Bangor, Maine.
He was born May 16, 1947 in Boston, the eldest of the six children of James M. Oates Jr. and Maureen (Lynch) Oates, and raised in Watertown, Massachusetts.
After graduating from Boston University in 1969, he traveled to India as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. While there he helped rural farmers with irrigation and tractor repair, and for the first time viewed potters making utilitarian pots as they had for centuries.
Upon his arrival home, he started learning the craft of pottery at Mudflat School of Pottery and it became his lifelong passion and artistic pursuit. In 1975 he established Pequog Pottery in his hometown of Watertown, Massachusetts while studying for a Master of Art Education (received in 1976) from Massachusetts College of Art.
Jamie then moved to Brooks, Maine in 1980, where he renovated one of the former Black and Gay canning factory buildings for his pottery studio and home. He traveled throughout New England and beyond selling his pottery at craft shows.
In 1986 Jamie met his future wife, Jeannette Faunce, on St. Patrick’s Day at the Belfast Café. They became partners in love and business, opening Mainely Pottery on Route One in Belfast, Maine two years later.
What began as a modest artistic vision grew into a flourishing business representing the work of over 30 Maine potters. In addition to supporting and encouraging his fellow potters, Jamie created, displayed and sold his beautiful, functional and at times whimsical pottery. He became well known for his stunning raku lamps, nightlights and whale handled mugs. They are treasured in people‘s homes far and wide. Practically synonymous with Jamie are his laughing Buddhas. They have been gifted, befriended and taken around the world.
Jamie was a member of the Maine Crafts Guild (Directions), serving as president, and as founder and organizer of the guild’s show at the Maine State Museum, as well as a member of the Maine Crafts Association. Jamie was an active and long time member of the Belfast Curling Club including serving as president. An avid curler, he donated many coveted prizes for the winners of the bonspiels.
A keen admirer of nature as evidenced in the animals found on many of pieces, Jamie enjoyed hiking, canoeing and fishing. He also enjoyed following the Boston sports teams: the Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots.
His Irishness was evident by the friendly twinkle in his eyes. Jamie was lighthearted, and had a buoyancy about life. A kind, gentle soul, he always had a smile and a calm presence. He enjoyed showing off his wife’s gardens at Mainely Pottery and feeding his crows. Jamie considered himself a very lucky man.
Jamie was predeceased by his parents and two brothers, Dan Oates and Kevin Oates.
He is survived by his wife, Jeannette Faunce; sister, Kati Oates; brothers Larry Oates and his wife Joyce Oates, Patrick Oates and his wife Melinda Ballou; his sisters-in-law, Amy Faunce, Jessena Faunce, Sandra Faunce and her husband, David Lafreniere.
He was a very special uncle to many nieces and nephews and loved by all.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Waterfall Arts at https://waterfallarts.org
A celebration of his life will be held this summer.
Sharing of memories, photos and comments welcomed at www.ripostafh.com.