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In loving memory of
James Robert Serafin
  • January 15, 1944
  • -
  • September 04, 2021

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Obituary

James Robert Serafin, age 77, died of adenocarcinoma on September 4, 2021 in the Villages Cornerstone Hospice House with his wife at his side.

James is survived by his wife of 56 years, Helen of The Villages, FL, his sons, Todd of Carlsbad, CA and Karl of Haymarket, VA, his two sisters, Helen Palo of Escanaba, Michigan and Ann Marie Durance of Bellaire, Michigan, and three grandchildren, Ryan Serafin, Piper Serafin, and Isabella Serafin.

Jim Serafin was born January 15, 1944 in Alexandria, VA to parents Paul Serafin and Martina Serafin. He graduated from Lawrence Inst. of Technology in Michigan with a degree in Construction Engineering. In 1973 Jim’s career path led him to Vineland NJ where he worked for Bechtel as an engineer at Hope Creek nuclear power plant for approximately ten years. He worked for TVA in Huntsville, AL for two years, then on to Aiken, SC as a Bechtel contractor for Westinghouse Savannah River. In 1997 Jim was hired as a Project Manager working with telecommunication projects throughout Europe and Indonesia.

In 1999, while Jim worked in California, his favorite pastime was taking sailing lessons.

His entire career was spent making sure his family would have a secure financial future, a chance to travel the world, and take lots of trips to the ocean.

Eventually, Jim became the best cook ever.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital or to the Gastric Cancer Foundation.

A celebration of life for Jim will be planned for later in the year, time and place not yet determined.


Tribute Wall

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  1. Paulette Mapson says:
    14 Sep 2021
    Helen,
    My sincere sympathy for the huge loss of Jim to you and your sons. I hope you will find great comfort in the beautiful words written about him on this wall. I didn't know him very well before, but I feel like I know him very well now. You, your sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, other family members and friends have been greatly blessed having him in your lives.

  2. Ed Shupe lit a candle:
    14 Sep 2021
    Lit since September 14, 2021 at 9:55:08 AM

  3. Stacy Flax says:
    13 Sep 2021
    Losing my father in law, Jim, has hit me pretty hard. It's difficult for me to imagine not being able to call him and not seeing him on our family video calls. I already miss him a lot. I loved how much he loved his family. He was the most down to Earth, generous, responsible and loving person. Even in the end he held onto his concern for family, humor and, yes, even his stubborn sense of self. He did it his way. And I love him for being exactly who he was. I love you Jim, Dad, Pak, always.

  4. John Kluck says:
    12 Sep 2021
    Helen, Todd and Karl: Sharron and I so saddened at Jim's sudden departure. I got to know Jim because my wife was a classmate of his and Helen. We immediatley began a friendship that has lasted until now, which is about 63 years. As young married couples we spent a lot of time together doing what ever motivated us, which included picnics, spending a weekend at Saugatuck, MI, canoe rides on the Huron River in the blazing sun, smelt fishing with his dad, and just enjoying being with each other.
    Jim's job provided him with many opportunities to see other countries and learn of their cultures giving him a deep appreciaton for being an American. Although he was often out of the US or had moved to remote parts of the US we always touched base and if we could visited their homes. It was a great treat to have a meal prepared by Jim.
    When he moved to The Villages he learned to play golf and got really good at it.
    Jim readily offered to help anyone in need , which included me when I recently had by pass surgery. He is and was a dear and devoted friend and I miss him tremendously. I hope and pray that we shall see each other again in paradise.

  5. Marty Turner says:
    11 Sep 2021
    Jim was one of a kind and he and Helen always treated me like a son! I’ll always treasure our times at Hilton Head…Jim’s world famous scrambled breakfasts (how did he get so much flavor packed into that skillet?), the laughter (Jim had such a great sense of humor), the guitar playing and singing and his incredible kindness and gentle way! My heart breaks for Helen, Todd and Karl…”pak” left us too soon and he will be sorely missed! God Bless!

  6. Lynn Hollosy says:
    10 Sep 2021
    It was a pleasure to know you. You were a great golf buddy who played regularly along with a great group of your special friends. Always enjoyed your company, our time together and story sharing. You will be missed !!

  7. Debbie Serafin posted an image:
    10 Sep 2021


  8. Debbie Serafin says:
    10 Sep 2021
    I will always remember every time Jim came to visit, he went through my cookbooks my saving recipes he wanted to try. Another fond memory is one night out of the blue he sang "Check my nails" by Lizzo to Bella and we laughed hysterically. Jim we will miss you but never forget you. Love you lots XOXO.

  9. Jean Goins says:
    08 Sep 2021
    Jim and Helen were first our next door neighbors and then our friends and then our family. Jim was always there ready to help no matter what. His kindness and help when Tony got sick will never be forgotten, they were like brothers. Rest In Peace my dear friend, gone but never forgotten.

    Jean Goins

  10. Todd Serafin says:
    08 Sep 2021
    Miss you greatly Dad especially for your humor, voice of reason and perspective, optimism, and life skills that you taught me.
    A family motivator by heart and engineer by trade.
    Thankyou for being there for us always.

    Love , Todd ♪♪♪

    So many memories. A few that come to mind now:

    - Cubscouts Pinewood derby as a kid.

    - Sacrificing his NJ lawn for a motorcycle course for the kids.

    - Of course, sponsoring my first guitars: the blue Hondo that started it all.
    Buying a"real" guitar in Nashville with him.
    I wanted the guitar with the flashy, whammy bar, but even back then, Dad had investment
    sense and encouraged me to buy the Gibson Les Paul.

    - VA Tech college years - building my furniture, the endless trips and the random
    surprise visit he did in the drillfield after Bargerfest celebration. Surprised he found his car after that. Good times. :)

    - NJ Beach trips - the weekend ritual; The Big Red Van; the 80s lush interior; Cat Stevens on the 8-track ;
    and best of all, letting me drive on the back roads.

    - Camping and teaching us how to setup a camp (did you know he was an Eagle scout?)
    He could tie a knot with one hand...talent! Those trips put some muscle on my brother and me lifting
    those stainless steel tent rods and stakes. That's also the early days of his cooking experience where
    we discovered that there is such a thing as too much seasoning on chicken. Luckily, he practiced and became
    an exceptional cook years later.

    - Pulling my brother and I aside to show us how to fix cars. Not sure I ever got as good as him,
    but to this day I have the same spare tools in the back and keep a spare cash handy like he suggested.
    Dad was all about backup plans.

    - Off to a California job after college - exciting and sad moment supporting me leaving home.
    Dad made sure that black and tan dodge truck was prepped for adventure..and my not so great driving.
    Many years later he decided to take a temporary job in California too where he got his boat captain's license
    and found his passion for the ocean and Jimmy Buffett music.

    - The persistent DIYer: Many o' weekend mornings supporting the home improvement projects. "Todd/Karl: Come here and hold this board for me". We went through a few boards needless to say and lots of sawdust.

  11. Joseph Kearns says:
    08 Sep 2021
    I first met Jim when he was in High School and had come to Brighton to escort my sister Helen on a date. I am not sure if he or Helen knew at the time that they have met their Soul Mate. Helen would beam with happiness when Jim arrived. Helen would take his hand and rush out of the house after a brief introduction. She wanted him all to herself and it made her family happy for her.

    You could not talk about Jim without talking about Helen and vise versa. Theirs was a life of love and devotion to each other.

    I have a high level of respect and admiration for his lifelong accomplishments. His love for my sister was without question.

    I will miss Jim. May he rest in peace.

  12. Piper Serafin says:
    08 Sep 2021
    I love you so much Grandpa! I hope you are resting well and not in pain anymore. I loved all of our visits to Florida and our trips together. I will miss you❤️

  13. Bill Klinkenberg says:
    08 Sep 2021
    So very sorry for your loss. Jim was a regular at the Men’s Breakfast at New Covenant Methodist Church. We always enjoyed being with Jim and hearing stories about his family. Blessings on your family memories.

  14. Claire Kearns lit a candle:
    08 Sep 2021
    Lit since September 8, 2021 at 9:27:38 PM

  15. Roger Hoven says:
    08 Sep 2021
    Will miss you

  16. Helen Serafin says:
    08 Sep 2021
    A huge hug to my daughter in laws - Todd's wife, Debbie Serafin and Stacy Flax, Karl's wife. who have been terrific support to both of us.

  17. Karl Serafin says:
    08 Sep 2021
    This guy James Serafin, who was my Dad, deserves an anthology, but for now here are some of my favorite memories of him that I'd like to share with everyone:

    1970s: Long before Jim Carrey came up with "The Claw" in his movie "Liar Liar", Dad came up with "The Boot" as a means of playfully chasing after me and my brother Todd.

    1970's/1980's: Great memories taking occasional bike rides with Dad and the whole family to our favorite ice cream place in Vineland, The Custard Kitchen.

    1970's/1980's: Dad loved building stuff around the house, and he accumulated quite a collection of tools for his garage when we grew up in New Jersey. Saturday mornings sometimes started off on the noisy side - I have vivid memories of hearing the power saw cranking at 630 AM!

    1970's/early 80's: Wrestling with Dad and my brother in our living room in New Jersey. On at least one occasion we managed to break his glasses!

    1974,1977,1980,1984: Four great trips to Disney World with Dad and the family

    1977-1986: The big red van was our main method for taking our various vacations. When Dad bought it, it had a shell interior with only the 2 front bucket seats. Not only did he furnish the van, but he cut into the roof and made a roof vent!

    1982: The whole family was on a hike through Acadia National Park. Todd and I got a "little ahead" of Mom and Dad. It's fair to say that Dad was none-too-happy that we were getting a little too independent in a challenging park. (Footnote: I had one of my several "Paybacks are hell!" moments as an adult when my son Ryan did something similar during a hike at Old Rag)

    1986: Dad set up an archery range in our backyard in New Jersey when I expressed an interest in archery. I spent many hours honing my skills on it. (Unclear if I still have those skills...)

    1993: Dad and I were on one of our many trips from Aiken to Hilton Head to stay at the condo. On this particular occasion, we decided to take a bunch of trash from the house in Aiken to a dump located roughly halfway to Hilton Head. Turns out it wasn't such a great idea: the trash literally baked inside his pickup truck's covered rear-section on this hot summer day. It smelled awful! It took some serious cleaning efforts to get that smell off the bedliner...

    mid-90s: I was in Hilton Head with my friend Marty staying at Mom and Dad's condo in Hilton Head. Marty and I spent the better part of a day riding our bikes around the island and stopping at various places for drinks. We might have overdone it a bit, so we asked Dad to pick us up, and fortunately he did!

    1997: Dad asked me to meet him for dinner in Gaithersburg near his Bechtel office at the time. He was considering taking a very cool Bechtel job in Indonesia, but he wanted to make sure that I was okay with it before he committed. Of course I said "Go for it!" I knew my Dad wanted to explore the world since he had talked about going to places overseas multiple times in the past. He waited for both of his sons to get their feet on the ground before he made a big move like that, and since I had started my first real job less than a year earlier (i.e. I was a bit of a late-bloomer), the time had arrived.

    1999: At the rehearsal dinner on the day before my wedding with my first wife Michelle, Dad asked me and Michelle to introduce all the relatives gathered before we ate dinner. Unprepared and still recovering from the previous night's bachelor party, I had another "Paybacks are hell!" moment. I was doing okay but when I got to my Uncle Joe and his wife Karen, I made the faux pas of saying "Uncle Joe and his current wife Karen". I think Dad was quite amused! (Joe not as much)

    2001: I was visiting Dad at his townhouse in Frederick with Ryan, who was less than a year old. Let's just say that I was struggling with handling Ryan, changing diapers, etc., and Dad appropriately invoked his "Paybacks are hell!" statement

    2010: A few weeks after I started dating my (eventual) wife Stacy, she and I spent a long weekend in Bermuda. Even though I was 40 at the time, Dad showed genuine concern for me going there with this mystery woman whom I had just met. He was always my Dad all the way through.

    2015: During our renovation of my wife's/my townhouse in Old Town Alexandria, the new design of the kitchen made it difficult to come up with a conventional solution for venting the stove top to the outside vent. Dad was particularly adept at solving problems like this and quickly determined the solution, which we of course implemented. (Footnote: his signature is forever written on a portion of the drywall behind the kitchen drawers)

    I consider myself to be lucky to have known (much less been raised by) my Dad

  18. Janet lit a candle:
    08 Sep 2021
    Lit since September 8, 2021 at 9:26:21 AM

  19. Bob & Thomi Karlek says:
    08 Sep 2021
    We are so sorry for your loss, so sudden and so difficult. We will remember Jim's deep love for his family, his strong work ethic and his love of adventure and technology. May your memories give you comfort and support you. God Bless.

  20. Debbie Matika says:
    08 Sep 2021
    I played Pickleball with Helen for the last 3 years here in The Villages. I met Jim when I would go pick up Helen for a ladies day/night out. He was always smiling and joking with me when I was there and very thankful that I helped her become comfortable driving her golf cart….just joked that we bring it home without a scratch (which we were able to do…though we had a close call….). I am blessed that I was able to be there with Helen when Jim passed and got to meet Karl and Stacy.
    Jim…..you will be missed by all that knew you.

  21. Allan Dunn says:
    08 Sep 2021
    So sorry for your loss. I’ll always remember the fun times we had on the golf course.

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