Sept. 26, 1935 – Jan. 30, 2013

James Edward Walline Sr. of Williamsville, principal of Grand Island Senior High School from 1976 to 1993, died Wednesday after a battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 77.

Born in Fargo, N.D., he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and education from Moorhead State Teachers College in North Dakota, then served for three years in the Army as a cryptanalyst during the Korean War, stationed at Fort Devens, Mass., and in Arlington, Va.

He went on to get a master’s degree in zoology from North Dakota State University and advanced certificates in education from Brandeis University and Boston University. He began his career in education as a biology teacher at Warren Junior High School in Newton, Mass., and taught for several years at schools in Massachusetts.

Before taking the position at Grand Island, Mr. Walline was principal of Pembroke High School from 1972 to 1976. From 1993 to 1996, he was principal of Cardinal O’Hara High School in the Town of Tonawanda.

While on sabbatical from Grand Island, he worked with General Motors and the United Auto Workers to develop a “School to Work” program that connected teachers with local businesses to help train students in job skills. In retirement, he was an adjunct professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

An athlete, baseball player and football enthusiast, he coached football and wrestling at North Dakota State and coached his sons’ baseball teams in the Christy Matthewson Little League. He was an officer in the Kenawan Figure Skating Club and joined his children in figure skating shows. He also was a strong supporter of Special Olympics.

Mr. Walline enjoyed bowling, backgammon, gardening, snowblowing his neighbors’ sidewalks and musical theater. He helped his son Michael create the musical “Jamestown Gals: The Music of Lucille Ball and Peggy Lee,” for MusicalFare in 2009.

He was a parishioner and religion instructor at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church.

In later years, he developed a love for creative writing. He was a member of the Western New York Writing Project at Canisius College, an affiliate of the National Writing Project, and created a blog called “The Awakener,” which can be found on

Surviving are his wife of 49 years, the former Marjorie Caisse; three daughters, Martha Bouquin, Jennifer Chudyk and Megan; three sons, James Jr., Matthew and Michael; and a sister, Doris.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Monday in St. Gregory the Great Church, 200 St. Gregory Court at Maple Road, Amherst.