James John Ponter, Jim, age 83 years of Sewell, NJ, died Feb. 5 at Kennedy Mem. Hosp. Wash. Twp. Div. Born in Pottsville, PA, he graduated from Pottsville High School in 1941 and was a resident of Glassboro from 1951 to 1985 before moving to Sewell. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy serving from 1941 45 with Naval Intelligence in the Pacific Theater. He was predeceased by his wife Mary B. (nee Shaw).
Jim, a realist sculptor, studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under Walter Hancock, the creator of the Three Confederate Generals on Stone Mountain, GA, and the famous War Memorial statue in 30th Street Station, Phila., PA. He worked for 20 years as an illustrator of books, magazines, and editorial newspaper art for the Phila. Bulletin. Seeking a career change, he began working on the sculpture staff of the Franklin Mint, creating many of their most popular series, retiring as their chief sculptor in 2002 after 31 years, while continuing his freelance endeavors in oil painting, bronze garden sculpture, and fountains.
His most ambitious compositions include a larger than life bronze statue of a coal miner. That statue stands in Minersville, PA, near Jim's home town of Pottsville, in tribute to the coalminers of the region. Recently, Jim completed a bronze statue of writer John O'Hara, a native of Pottsville, and author of Pal Joey, Butterfield 8, Ten North Frederick, and other stories and novels. That statue was installed on the main street of Pottsville. A collection of Jim's work can be seen at the Western Heritage museum in Omaha, NE. His bronze garden fountains have been placed in private gardens across the country. His work can be found on www.gardenaccents.com
His most recent project was for Harness Racing of America, painting portraits of the horses and trainers.
He is survived by his sons Leo B. of Chatham, NY, James R. (Linda) of Sewell, and Paul M. (Janice) of Sewell, grandchildren Joshua, Michael, Erin, and Timothy, great grandchildren Dominic and Sophia Acqista. Also survived by his brothers Robert of Pittsburgh, PA and Thomas of Pottsville, sisters Grace Charlton of Columbus, OH, and Dolores Land of Minersville, PA.
Friends may call on Friday from 7 to 9 PM and Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 AM in the KELLEY FUNERAL HOME, 125 Pitman Ave., Pitman, NJ. Funeral mass at 11 AM in Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Pitman, NJ. Interment private. Those desiring may make contributions to American Cancer Society, 1851 Old Cuthbert Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.