Photo of James Bossard

Staff member James Bossard passes away

The Case Western Reserve University community is mourning the loss of groundskeeper James Bossard, who died June 2. He was 64. 

When Bossard began working at the university more than 30 years ago, it marked a new chapter in an extensive family legacy. Bossard’s great grandfather, Emil, was the former head groundskeeper for the Cleveland Indians—and Bossard was the fourth generation to work in the profession. 

Bossard told Sportsfield Management that he started working for the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1975 when he was just 15 years old. 

“[My great grandfather and I] mostly talked about the playing surface,” Bossard recalled. “He once complimented me on my straight lines as I was fertilizing with a walk-behind spreader. He was thrilled to be walking the strikingly nice turfgrass in the warm sunshine—maybe it was more of a shuffle by that time.”

After his stint at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Bossard joined Case Western Reserve, where he worked as a groundskeeper and tended to the university’s athletic fields, and helped organize and plant flowers across campus, according to his friend and colleague, Edward Shaner. 

Shaner attended Euclid High School with Bossard, and went on to work with him at the stadium and as a grounds coordinator at Case Western Reserve. He said his friend had an incredibly relaxed demeanor, was very friendly, and was a talented keyboardist and bass guitarist.

“We’ve done so much over the years that it kind of all just blends together,” Shaner said. “It was always a pleasure to work with him. I will miss you, my friend.” 

Bossard is survived by his wife, Sarah Bossard (nee Smith); children, Alex (Suzanna), Andrew (Tiana); stepchildren Lauren Hageman (Paul) and Ethan Robey; grandchildren, Olivia, Jack, Bennie James, and Evie; sister, Elizabeth Albright (Clint); favorite furry friend, Mocha; and many other family members. 

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 1, at the Jakubs-Waite Funeral Home located at 36000 Lakeshore Blvd. in Eastlake, where family will receive visitors from 2 p.m. until the time of the service. The burial will be private. 

Read Bossard’s full obituary

Donations may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Northern Ohio Chapter, in Bossard’s name (8001 Sweet Valley Dr., Suite 3, Valley View, Ohio, 44125).

Students who would like support during this time are encouraged to contact University Health and Counseling Services at 216.368.5872. This line is staffed by a counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Faculty and staff can access counseling at any time by calling IMPACT Solutions at 1.800.227.6007.