So Long Jim Small

October 16, 2020

Kind, dependable, consistent, committed, and considerate are words that describe Jim Small. Jim had a huge heart and soft voice and was devoted to teaching. He was one of those teachers who was ALWAYS teaching – in his classroom and throughout his day – demonstrating for students and writing and recording ideas. He had a clear and deep understanding of creative thinking and taught it as a foundation to all of his art classes. In fact, he wrote about it over many years to make it more understandable for others and was an amazing advocate for arts education. Sadly Jim left this world on October 10 at the age of 67. Even though Jim is gone he has left us all resources on his YouTube channel called Imagine Again Jim – it’s soooo Jim! Below is Jim’s obituary.

Mr. Small – Art Teacher Extraordinaire

SKOWHEGAN – James Keith Small passed away peacefully in his sleep on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020 at the age of 67 at his home in Skowhegan.

Born on March 23, 1953 in Westbrook to his mother, Cora Ida York, and his father, Shirley Small. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; children, Stephanie, Adam and Ricky; and his grandchildren, Coraline, Geronimo and Torrington; as well as his sisters, Linda, Judy and Valerie. James also had the good fortune of being taken in by the late Pauline and Bob Johnson and siblings Gene, Alan, Patrick, Paula, and Lisa after the passing of his parents.

A devoted father, husband and career educator, he worked tirelessly to provide a magical world for his children to grow up in. Always a kid at heart himself, he believed that the imagination was the key that unlocked each person’s individual super power.

He was an extraordinarily gentle soul who was loved by many, and had endless love to give. He touched countless lives as an art teacher for the MSAD 59 and MSAD 54 school districts. Jim made friends at every turn and always knew how to spread his joy to those in need. His students always knew that his classroom was a safe place, free of judgement, where he would do anything in his power to inspire creative thinking and personal growth.

Other lifelong pursuits included passion for the arts, film, photography, and last but certainly not least, fishing. Recently retired, Jim had far too little time to be on the water whenever he desired, catching all the trout he could manage.

James passed his unfiltered creative energy to his daughter, Stephanie, along with a good portion of his immense compassion for those less fortunate. He would graciously admit cribbage defeat and fish until the bats came out with his son, Adam, and he would always be his son, Ricky’s #1 fan.

Jim courted his beloved wife, Dorothy, after retrieving her lost barrette at the former Sandy Beach in Madison, and the two spent 43 years in love. From barrette to soul mate, James was an ever-devoted husband to his stunning wife and would wade into any sized waves to do it again.

Visiting hours will be held on Friday Oct. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Smart and Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan. We ask that all attendees be respectful of the COVID guidelines and wear a mask while attending. Anyone wishing to virtually attend the funeral service may do so via the Albion Christian Church website – https://albionchristianchurch.com/, there will be a link located there to go to the live Facebook link starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 17. 

Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Smart and Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan. Anyone who wishes to leave the family messages can do so on our website at ? http://www.smartandedwardsfh.com

James (Mr. Small to many) would want us all to move forward with pride and confidence, while reminding us to also Imagine Again, and Imagine More. 

In lieu of flowers, the Small family will be encouraging anyone who wishes to donate to a scholarship for all manner of creative pursuits and the arts in Mr. Small’s name.


  1. The kids and I want to let you know the James K. Small Scholarship for the Creative Arts is pretty much set up. The scholarship is for graduating students from Skowhegan Area High School and Madison Area Memorial High School. If you would like donate please make checks payable to the:
    James K. Small Scholarship
    Address: 61 Academy Circle, Skowhegan, ME 04976
    Thank you, DSmall

  2. Thank you Dorothy for letting us know that a scholarship in Jim’s honor has been established. This is wonderful! ~argy

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