Written by Jim’s beloved wife, Barbara
Jim was born on August 2nd, 1946. He was the second son of Mary and Ben Kwitowski. Jim lost his dad at age 3 and missed having a father figure in his life.
Jim grew up on the East Side of Buffalo until seventh grade, when the family moved into an upper apartment on Beach Road in Cheektowaga, NY. He attended Maryvale High School, where he played football and was awarded a place in the Maryvale Hall of Fame. He was also awarded a scholarship to Garden City Kansas College.
After graduation, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served for two years. He was able to do some traveling in Europe during that time and it fueled his desire for travel and adventure. He attended University of Kansas for one year and then returned home and began working for New York Telephone Company (now Verizon). He planned to make enough money to move to the Northwest and become a lumberjack.
Plans changed when he met his bride-to -be and love of his life, Barbara Takac. The two were married on October 15, 1971. From that union three children were born, Rebecca, Jeff and Mark.
The adventure was now was raising three young children and becoming the "Dad" he briefly had.
Jim was a hard worker and was a loyal neighbor and friend. He was always looking for opportunities to help those in need, especially the elderly, including his mother, aunt and his in-laws.
Jim was a soccer coach with his sons' teams for several years and was always available to help at school or church activities. He worked with young boys at Royal Rangers church group and also taught Sunday School and held home Bible Studies. Jim served on the first board of Agapé Parents’ Fellowship, a non-profit respite group for children with special needs.
He loved to travel and his family could always count on at least one memorable vacation trip each year. He loved history, so often the car would stop so that the kids could read the historical posters and plaques along the roadside. Life was full of camping trips, and road trips, sometimes staying at staying at less-than-fancy motels. Over the years the family went to Florida, Disney World, Williamsburg, Washington D.C., New England and southern stops for brief visits.
Also, Jim' s dream to be a lumberjack was partially fulfilled when the family bought two acres of wooded land at Rushford and the entire family became part of the clearing the land project, toppling trees and having huge bonfires to burn the wood. Eventually, a trailer was put on the property and "Providence" became a summer place for many family and friend gatherings.
Jim loved his family unconditionally and always brought wisdom, security and joy into our lives.
He was able to walk his daughter Becky down the aisle and give her to his son-in-law Patrick with full confidence he would care for her. He also was able to celebrate his son Jeff's marriage to Rebecca Elmore in a beautiful wedding in West Palm Beach, Fla. From these unions he lived to see granddaughters Erica (Pat and Becky's daughter), Cora and Sara (Jeff and Rebecca’s daughters) and rejoiced at their births and our growing family.
Since his passing, five other children have become part of our clan: Alaina and Naya, (Jeff and Rebecca's two other girls), Abby, Serio and Melanie Mae (the children of Mark and Laura, who were married in 2011). Jim now watches over us all from above.
Jim retired from Verizon in December 2005 after over 36 years of working. We were looking forward to our next "season of life” together.
On a beautiful spring day, May 2, 2007, Jim was riding his bike (a retirement gift to himself) when he was taken to heaven after a massive heart attack.
His generosity continued after his passing by donating to Unyts tissues and cornea to those in need.
His legacy continues in the lives and love of his wife, family and friends. We still feel his presence and care and are grateful to God for giving this wonderful man to us for over 60 years.