1411 Vintage Lane, Rochester, New York 14626
Obituary of James M. Cavallaro, Sr.
GREECE - January 19, 2021. Jim is predeceased by his wife, Shirley Cavallaro & brother, John Cavallaro. He is survived by his children, James (Lisa) Cavallaro, Jr. & Michelle (David) Walker; grandchildren, Joseph, Daniel & Robert Cavallaro, Joseph, Timothy & Steven Jackling, Christina, Brianna & Jonathan Walker; great-grandson, Dominic Romeo; sister-in-law, Carol Cavallaro; aunt, Angie Cianciotto; several brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins & dear friends.
Per NYS regulations, all are required to wear face masks and hand sanitize at the funeral home and church.
Jim’s life story will be shared during his visitation, Friday, January 29th, 6-9 PM at the funeral home, 1411 Vintage Lane (Between 390 & Long Pond Rd.). His funeral mass will be celebrated, Saturday, January 30th, 10:30 AM at Our Mother of Sorrows Church, 5000 Mt. Read Blvd. Click here to watch Jim's live Funeral Mass
His entombment with military honors at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Mercy Flight, 2420 Brickyard Road, Canandaigua, NY 14424 or to Sarah’s Guest House, 100 Roberts Ave., Syracuse, NY 13207 in Jim’s memory.
Loyal, generous, and kind, James M. Cavallaro, Sr. lived a life rich in faith and family. A man who lived the principles of his faith, Jim never hesitated to give of his time and talents in service of others. He believed life was too short for resentments and regrets and encouraged others to mend fences, make peace, and live every moment to the fullest. Jim was a hard-working man who was exceptionally proud of his Italian heritage and who cherished nothing more than spending time with those he loved. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Jim was revered by many. He will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Though 1938 held much to celebrate, including President Roosevelt's signing of The Fair Standards Act, Hollywood's film version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," and Seabiscuit's astonishing "Race of the Century" win, the continued challenges of the Great Depression coupled with the systematic persecution of Jews in Europe, spread concern and fear across the globe. Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression and the growing conflict in Europe, many families found the way to continue to center their lives in love and hope for a brighter future. Nowhere was that hope more evident than in the Cavallaro home as they welcomed their son James into their hearts and home on October 18.
Growing up in the Orange Street/Grape Street neighborhoods, Jim's early years were rich in family traditions and a deep sense of community. Jim walked to school in the morning, returned home to eat lunch, and then walked back to school each day. Summers were spent in Corning, NY, with his brother John and their cousins. He picked dandelions for his Uncle Joe's and learned to love lemons while sitting on the front porch with Aunt Emma in the summertime, sucking on lemons and wishing for a rare orange.
Jim grew up with Gap, Chuck, and Josephine Mangione, who lived next door. Their friendships lasted their entire lives. As a teen, he worked at Mangione's Market and was known for inspiring a good time. His multiple exchanges of the same case of bottles and his liberation of many cases of beer from the conveyor at the Genesee Brewery as it journeyed from the brewery to the warehouse quickly became legendary tales. He enjoyed street racing and skipped school with Phil Lane to go fishing for pike. Once, while at the fair, his friends dared him to enter a gorilla case and fight the gorilla. After getting knocked down twice by the gorilla, he figured out how to knock the gorilla down.
Mutual friends introduced Jim to Shirley Ann Liberi, who lived in the same neighborhood. During their high school years, the pair began dating and quickly became sweethearts. After courting for six years, the happy couple married and officially began their 57-year adventure.
The newlyweds settled into married life and soon became parents when son Jim Jr. was born in January of 1961. When daughter Michelle was born in November of 1962, their family was complete. Jim and Shirley dedicated their lives to the good care of their children. Together, they worked to create a loving and supportive home rooted in faith and tradition. James was honorably discharged from the Army for medical reasons after nine months of service and was famous for telling his children, "The only rights you have are the ones I give you" and "He with the fastest hands gets the mostest." He also regularly asked, "Are you reading the pictures?" and instructed, "Don't let the doorknob hit you in the a** on the way out."
Jim and Shirley's home included many pets over the years. They included Mario the parakeet and Blacky the rabbit, who used to bite Jim's toes when he had to go from the yard to the cage. Muscles the rabbit was bought as an anniversary present because Blacky needed a friend. Fritz, the Miniature Schnauzer, and Jim were Hershey Bar eating buddies.
While Jim was a hard worker, he also understood the restorative value of leisure activities. Jim, his brother, cousins, and good friends created the Cavallaro version of the Wild Hogs motorcycle gang, and he enjoyed many great vacations. He enjoyed taking his mother to Disney World and watching her delight with the magic kingdom. Boy Scout camping in Massawepie, fishing in the Thousand Islands with his Kodak coworkers, and fishing in Cape Vincent for pike, bass, perch, and walleye with his cousins were also treasured memories. Jim went crab and deep-sea fishing in Maryland and Florida and moose hunting with Jim Jr. in Newfoundland, where he rode his first floating bush plane. For many years, Jim went hunting with Jim Jr. on his property in Marion, NY, and assisted his son with the Whitetails Unlimited banquets. Once, he shot a one-antlered buck dubbed "the unicorn." He had the pleasure of accompanying his daughter, Michelle, to Colorado to attend his grandson Joey Jacklin's graduation from Business and Law School. Many good times were had with his grandchildren, especially on their Pheasants Forever youth hunts. Thirty-seven years of family, friends, fun, gardening, and sunsets were enjoyed at the family cottage on Lake Ontario in Lyndonville, NY.
A devoted Buffalo Bills and New York Yankees fan, Jim played Bocce tournaments for over 40 years. He enjoyed golfing during the warm months at Oak Hill Country Club, bowling in leagues during the winter. He was an active member of an investment club and a card club with his cousins. He and his friend George had breakfast every Tuesday and lunch/brunch every third Wednesday. Jim relished in attending his grandkids' special events. Many football, soccer, and bowling games found him in the stands cheering on his favorite players. He also enjoyed attending their scout functions, plays, and concerts. Whatever they were involved in, Jim never missed an opportunity to share their endeavors.
During quiet time at home, Jim loved watching old Westerns like Gunsmoke, Ponderosa, and the Virginian. While he enjoyed listening to the classic tunes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Willie Nelson, his reading interests included the newspaper, In-Fisherman Magazine, and Whitetails Unlimited magazine. He especially enjoyed the missing antler contest in Whitetails Unlimited. He loved fishing and game shows and religiously watched "Ciao Italia" with Mary Ann Esposito and Lydia Bastianich's various cooking shows. Jim was famous for his homemade salad vinegar and winemaking.
Though the world seems significantly less certain in the absence of Jim's steadfast presence, may we find comfort in our wonderful memories and the privilege of carrying his legacy forward. With each line we cast, ace we hit, print we track, frame and hand we win, and sunset we share with our loved ones, we celebrate the many ways Jim gifted us. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he inspired us.