Cover photo for James W. Fossett's Obituary
James W. Fossett Profile Photo
1950 James 2022

James W. Fossett

1950 — December 15, 2022

James W. Fossett, PhD, 72, died peacefully at home December 15, 2022 at his home in Delmar, New York.

Jim was born in Emory, GA and raised in suburban Atlanta. He earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in political science from Vanderbilt University, and a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Michigan.  Jim was recently retired from a prolific academic career in political science and public affairs. His most recent academic appointment was Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public Affairs, Public Policy Program, and School of Public Health at The State University of New York at Albany. He additionally served as a Senior Fellow in the Federalism Research Group at the Rockefeller Institute of Government and as core faculty at the Alden Marsh Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical College.

Jim loved to be on “the steep part of the learning curve,” as evidenced by his wide-ranging scholarly articles, book chapters and reports on topics spanning health care politics and policy, Medicaid, federalism, bioethics, and natural disaster relief.  A kind-hearted and intellectual man, Jim was always full of advice and eager to help people in any way he could. His passion for politics and public policy extended beyond the academic sphere; he was an avid follower of political news and current events, and loved to discuss with friends, family, and colleagues. Jim was a long-time resident of Delmar, and was fond of the local farmers market, deli, and coffee shop.

Jim is survived by his loving partner of nine years, Bess Epstein, and her family including sons Michael and Bill, and daughters-in-law Madeline and Arden. Jim is also survived by his son, Jeffrey Fossett, and an extended family by marriage that includes sisters-in-law Sheila Perloff Eddison and Linda Perloff, brother-in-law David Eddison, Aunt Karin Shields and Uncle David Shields, cousins Temi Snyder, Andrea Snyder, Alison Tanner, Michael Shields, Jennifer Millman, Josh Bolgar and Zander Bolgar, nephew Eric Freundlich, and nieces Sara Wyatt and Melissa Hickey. He is predeceased by his parents Sara and Roy Fossett, brother Lawrence Fossett, and wife Janet Perloff Fossett to whom he was lovingly married for fifteen years prior to her passing.

Funeral services will be held at 12pm noon on Friday, December 30th at Applebee Funeral Home, 403 Kenwood Ave in Delmar, NY. Visitation with the family will begin at 11am at the funeral home, and interment will follow at B’nai Sholom Cemetery in Troy.   The funeral service will be broadcasted via a You Tube Live Stream link,

,  and will go live at 11:45 for those that are unable to attend the service in person.

In lieu of flowers, you can honor Jim by making a contribution to one of his favorite charities. He was a regular donor to the Southern Poverty Law Center and Doctors Without Borders. You can also make a contribution to the Janet D. Perloff Scholarship at the University of Albany. Jim made yearly contributions to this fund, which is named for his late wife and supports scholarships for social work and public health students at the University at Albany. Please donate online at, or send a check by mail. Please make checks payable to The UAlbany Foundation, note that your gift is to the Perloff Scholarship in memory of James Fossett, and mail to The UAlbany Foundation, PO Box 761, Albany, NY 12201.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James W. Fossett, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, December 30, 2022

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, December 30, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 1

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree