Freetown man who died of EEE is remembered as an ‘all-around family guy’

The Freetown resident who last week became the second person in the state to die this year of Eastern equine encephalitis was remembered as an “all-around family guy” and carpenter.

The victim was James Longworth, his sister confirmed Sunday.

Elizabeth Bessey of New Bedford, called Longworth “a very nice brother” with whom she grew up in Middleborough.

Freetown officials confirmed Friday that one of the town’s residents had died of EEE, saying “Our most sincere sympathy, thoughts and prayers go out to the victim, to their family and their loved ones.”

In the obituary posted online by South Coast Chapel in Freetown, Longworth was described as a 78-year-old “all-around family guy” who left a longtime partner, a son, a grandson, and stepchildren.


Longworth had worked as a self-employed carpenter, and his hobbies were all hands-on. “He was very happy doing yard work, and he also loved cutting trees and getting rid of stumps; he also liked to work out at the gym,” according to the obituary.

Longworth died at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford on Thursday.

The outbreak of the disease, a rare but deadly virus, is the largest since the 1950s, Dr. Catherine Brown, the state epidemiologist, told the Globe.

Longworth was the 10th human case of the illness this year, according to health officials.

In late August, a Fairhaven woman, Laurie Sylvia, also died of the disease.

Lucas Phillips can be reached at lucas.phillips@globe.com.