James Stewart Wemesfelder of The Villages, Florida passed away on October 8, 2021.
Jim was born in the summer of ’42 and spent his early years on the shores of Lake Ontario surrounded by fruit farms in the hamlet of Pultneyville, NY where he learned the work ethic at an early age. He was captain of his HS soccer and tennis teams, played basketball and volleyball. He was in school plays, chorus and all 5 bands for which he received the John Phillip Sousa award. Jim was president of the Fire squad and earned a scholarship for his effort. He was a member of the Pultneyville Methodist Church, served on the ecumenical council at age 16 and sang in the church choir.
Jim was a life-long student who graduated at 19 from Paul Smiths, a private forestry college in the Adrondack Mountains of upstate NY. He was a member of the men’s glee club and played intramural basketball. He also graduated from the State University of NY and held dual certification in elementary ed and jr high English and eventually earned 90 grad hours. He lettered in soccer and tennis, was a member of the Varsity Club and participated in intramural wrestling. (During his college years, Jim worked summers on a farm by day and factory at night and as a handyman in his home and college towns.)
Jim taught thirty- three years in grades 5, 6 and special ed at Liverpool Schools, NY. He set up a wood-working shop in his classroom and for several years took his fifth graders overnight camping trips to the shores of Lake Ontario. He coached the HS tennis teams to 28 league and state championships and set a state record for 8 consecutive undefeated seasons. He coached varsity soccer teams that’s won back-to-back league championships at Liverpool and a third championship at Christian Brothers Academy of Syracuse. He was the president of the Syracuse- Onondaga men’s adult soccer league and was heavily involved in youth soccer through a number of grants he secured at the state level. He was a member if the NYS high School Athletic Association and served as league chairman for soccer and tennis.
Jim was and officer in the Liverpool Elks Lodge 2348 and Liverpool Lions Club. He was a cub scout leader, senior citizen director and worked as a camp counselor at the Huntington Family Center in Syracuse for underprivileged children. He was a life member of PTA, Cranberry Lake Fish and Game club and attained NYS and US Coast Guard boater safety certification. Jim sang in Syracuse Barbershop Quartet and played trumpet in the Ontario March Kings Band in Rochester, NY area and a dance band near Lake Placid. For many years he sang weekends at various resorts in Alexandria Bay on the St. Lawrence River where he lived 11 years overlooking the main shipping channel.
Jim was hired as the first parks and recreation director for the Town of Salina when it was the largest town in the county. He built 4 swimming pools, eight playgrounds and administered recreation programs that included staffs of over 100 employees. He worked with the US Dept of the Interior regional office in Boston to secure land grants. He developed that land through state and federal grants including the U.S. Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and the NYS Department of Parks and Recreation. His 44-year tenure as a department head at the town level set a state record; overall he worked 50 years in recreation at four municipalities.
Jim was in, on or near water all his life. He was in his element water skiing at the Finger Lakes or soloing his yacht beyond sight of land on Lake Ontario. He enjoyed navigating the Thousand Islands, kicking back at the cottage he built brick on the shores of Cranberry Lake in the Adironadacks or crossing a mountain stream while big game hunting.
Jim often spoke of God’s greatest gifts, his children, and grandchildren; their impressive accomplishments were a constant source of pride: daughter Kelly (Jeff) Farrell of Mansfield, Pa, son Jim (Barbara) of Strasboug, Germany and daughter, Rebecca of Syracuse NY and grandchildren RJ and Jolyn Farrell. He is also survived by nieces Kathy (Brian) Madigan and family, Stephanie (Jim) Cheesman and family predeceased by nephew Daniel Datthyn, but survived by his family.
The love of Jim’s life was Pat Anderson of The Villages, Fl. Their epic love story began when they met in church volunteering with Alzheimer patients; it was love at first sight. They were inseparable from that point forward and together always had faith and trust in what tomorrow would bring as they shared their hopes and dreams each day with coffee on the lanai overlooking the golf course waiting the sunrise.
They were members of the Venetian Boat Club and often navigated the famous Dora Canal and Harris Chain of Lakes. They enjoyed the big boats, too, cruising the Caribbean extensively. They enjoyed world-renouned artists at the Sharon Arts Center in The Villages and the Ekerd Theatre in Clearwater. They were season ticket holders of the Villages Philharmonic Orchestra as well as regular attendees at galas in support of the orchestra. They were proud of their lovely flower gardens, took weekly dance lessons and were daily physical fitness enthusiast. They were involved in Hope Lutheran Church activities, food pantries and the My Timers for Free Time Alzheimer group.