LEDYARD, Conn. (WTNH) -- A fisherman whose literacy mission inspired so many has passed away. Jim Henry learned to read at the age of 91 and he wrote a book at age 98.
It was a warm reception for Capt. Jim Henry. The fisherman turned author became an inspiration to Carol Ambrosch's third grade class and all of Ledyard Center school.
"Mr. Jim Henry says K-e-e-e-p reading and that definitely is his legacy," said Ambrosch said. "He wanted to spread his message and he wanted every child to never give up because he didn't."
Capt. Jim was illiterate most of his life, but at age 91 he taught himself to read and at 98 he wrote a book: In a fisherman's language his life in his words.
"If I make a mistake I'll always say that was in a fisherman's language. That'll cover me," he said laughing.
The last year was a whirlwind. He received a letter of recognition from the President and his book was included in the Library of Congress. Ambrosch was invited to visit him during his last days, an honor she'll never forget.
"His granddaughter Marlisa said to me 'but you're family,'" Ambrosch said.
Ambrosch's third grade class has now moved on to fourth grade, but after she visited him she got all the students together again on Friday morning to tell them what was happening. Each one insisted on writing him another letter.
He read each one before he passed away on Sunday.
"I had one student from last year that was crying," Ambrosch said. "I mean she was so moved and so bothered by the fact that we would not be able to be with him."
Or be able to celebrate his 100th birthday in April.
"You cannot imagine the impact that he had on them and they had on him," she said.
A life changer for all of them.
"To me money can't buy this," Capt. Jim said. "Money can't buy this, believe me."
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