In Memoriam: Jim Tocci


by Vincent Chase, CHP

Jim Tocci, 69, a longtime member of the New England Chapter of the Health Physics Society, passed away on 19 February 2015. Jim was born 2 October 1945 in Milford, Massachusetts, son of Benjamin and Catherine (Cosentino) Tocci. He received his BA in physics and mathematics from Northeastern University. He later administered major radiological safety programs and conducted research involving a linear electron accelerator for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Jim was radiation safety services manager with Environmental Health and Safety at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) for 27 years until his retirement in 2004. During his career at UMass Amherst, he was credited with leading a model radiation safety program that included inspections, laboratory visits, and training of researchers, technicians, and students in the handling of radioactive materials.

For more than 40 years, Jim was a radiation safety consultant to educational institutions, medical facilities, and industry. He organized and administered radiological safety programs for universities and industrial clients and other research-oriented users of radioactive materials. He routinely conducted inspections of licensees for the NRC. He also assisted in organizing and administering the radiological safety program at the Army Materials and Mechanics Research Center. As a liaison to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, he served the vital role of updating the agency on radiation levels and conditions in local communities during emergency drills and exercises conducted by the Vermont Yankee and Yankee Rowe nuclear stations. He participated as a Massachusetts Nuclear Incident Advisory Team member and responded to a number of incidents within the Commonwealth during his tenure.

After his retirement from UMass Amherst, Jim continued to consult in the field of health physics. The consulting company he founded, Valley Safety Associates, is well known for serving clients in need of health physics services in western Massachusetts.

Jim is survived by his mother; his wife, Susan (McLellan) Tocci; and three children: his son, Jamie Tocci and his wife Tammi, and his two daughters, Amy Scott and her husband Brian and Susan Tocci. He will also be missed by his brother, Benjamin Tocci; two sisters, Patricia Lemon and Maryjane Tocci; and four grandchildren.