RUMFORD — Jim Rinaldo loves to putter in the garden, in the workshop, in the community and on the computer.

He’s very modest about his many accomplishments. However, Carrie, his wife of 33 years, and their three children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren aren’t.

“We think he’s famous,” Carrie said at home on Friday afternoon at 160 Route 108 in Rumford’s Smith Crossing neighborhood.

“I’m very, very proud of him. He’s accomplished a lot. Actually, he’s a good example of what other townspeople should be doing.”

In the early 1980s, Rinaldo, whose grandfather emigrated to Rumford from the province of Pacentra, Italy, served as a selectman and SAD 43 School Board member.

Fresh out of high school in the early 1960s, he worked 17 years at Puiia Hardware and Lumber Co. in Rumford and owned five apartment buildings, which he sold in the 1970s.

Then he worked 27 years at Rumford’s paper mill, retiring in 2007 from his job as a foreman in shipping at NewPage Corp.

Rinaldo now volunteers his time trying to find economic development solutions for the River Valley Technology Center and the town itself.

He chairs the Performing Arts Committee at Rumford Falls Auditorium and runs fundraising poker tournaments at and for the Eagle’s Club.

The half-dozen annual tourneys attract 50 to 60 players while raising about $400 each time. That’s what he was doing all day Saturday.

When the Pennacook Art Center gallery on Congress Street closed a few years ago, Rinaldo got the displaced artists into the tech center, where they now display their work and hold successful art shows.

He and his wife Carrie, who used to own and operate Ma’s Place Restaurant in Rumford, now run a craft business where he makes country-style wooden furniture and she finishes it for market.

The Rinaldo home is rich with their do-it-yourself furniture and Carrie’s paintings.

Jim Rinaldo was also bitten by the inventing bug.

In early 2000, he created and patented the Jungle Jon, a combined portable stool and toilet for hunters stuck in the woods when nature calls, anglers, hikers or tourists who can’t stand odors from portable restrooms.

Last month, the affable 66-year-old with wire-frame glasses, neatly trimmed mustache and ever-present smile, had his first children’s book published by Xlibris.

Written through off-and-on months of puttering on his computer since 2005, “Wally The Worm’s Adventures on the Farm” can now be purchased online through Xlibris, Barnes & Noble and, Rinaldo said on Friday afternoon.

“It’s about a worm on a farm who wakes up one morning and sees an apple orchard across the barnyard, and he decides he wants to go over there for lunch, so it’s about his experience of getting from where he’s at to the other side, with all of the animals he has to dodge, and the dangers and so forth,” he said.

Carrie convinced him to publish it.

“I thought it was great and that he shouldn’t keep it to himself, but rather share it with the world,” she said.

“It’s my first ever book of any kind,” Jim Rinaldo said.

“If this book sells enough so that I can actually pay for what it cost me to do this, I’m going to write a sequel. Anyone that wants to see the second one, they have to start buying the first one.”

Writing and publishing a book was something he never thought he could do.

“I could just barely get through my English classes, never mind write a book,” he said.

Which is funny now, because the couple are wordsmiths who enjoy Scrabble.

“Every day when the paper comes, my wife will do the crossword puzzle and we’ll do the Jumble (cryptogram), because we both like words, and then there’s Sudoku,” Rinaldo said.

“I enjoy numbers as well, so I do that. So every day, we make sure that gets done before we start our day.”

Born and raised in Rumford, Rinaldo said he’s sure he’ll die there as well, and be buried in a box he’s probably crafted.

“Yeah, probably, if I knew ahead of time, I could probably throw something together,” he said, busting out laughing.

“Why waste all the money on these $1,500 or $2,000 caskets? Just slop something together for about $12.95.”

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