Marvin Lincoln "Scooch" James, 66, of West Conshohocken, a former union business agent and training school instructor who published a handbook on parenting, died last Thursday of intestinal scleroderma at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. James graduated from Abington High School and served stateside in the U.S. Army. After his discharge, he had a variety of jobs, including selling vacuum cleaners door to door, before becoming a construction laborer.

His specialty was power spraying gunite, a form of concrete, to construct swimming pools. While working, he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Villanova University.

Mr. James was a member of the Laborers International Union of North America, Local 135, in Norristown, and served as secretary-treasurer, union organizer and business agent. Before retiring in 2000, he was senior instructor at the Laborers District Council training school in Exton.

Mr. James was a Mason and was past president of the West End Civic Association in West Conshohocken. In the 1990s, he self-published

Dreamtime: A Contemporary Guide to Parenting

, which he distributed to friends and relatives and which was sold in local bookstores. He was a loving father but a strict disciplinarian, said his wife, Naomi Johnson James.

Mr. James enjoyed home-improvement projects, cooking, fishing, and playing his left-handed bass guitar.

In addition to his wife of 27 years, he is survived by a son, Zachary; a daughter, Margo Snowden; a stepson, Oscar Gamble; four brothers; three sisters; a stepmother, Leanner James; a stepfather, Arthur Simmons Sr.; and a grandson.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Moore Funeral Home, 708 Fayette St., Conshohocken. Friends may call from 9 a.m. Burial will be in Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Prospectville.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.