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Better known as The Prince of Pinstripe, Potentate of Power Suits, a Rising Star in the Golden Years of Herff Jones Yearbooks, a proud Italian who embraced his ethnicity, and a Living Legend known for his trademark attitude of ‘Living the Dream!’.
Our Tom James departed from his earthly body on Tuesday evening, October 10, 2023, at the age of 81.
Visitation will be held at Wright Funeral Home in Brookfield, MO on Saturday, October 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. NO FLOWERS, please. Instead, share or write a favorite memory of Tom for Marilyn to treasure. Cards may be mailed to Wright Funeral Home % of Marilyn James - 1201 W. Helm St. - Brookfield, MO 64628. Memorials suggested to ‘Alzheimer’s Research’ in memory of Thomas S. F. James, or donor’s choice.
Tom was born during a WWII evening practice raid, green shades drawn, making his presence in total darkness, save a flashlight held by a nurse on Saturday, July 18, 1942, in Montour County, Pennsylvania. Tom was a second-generation Italian-American and the middle son of Sebastiano and Loretta (Fiorey) James.
He was Baptized and Confirmed at Saint Edwards Roman Catholic Church in Shamokin, PA. He attended Saint Edwards Primary School and earned his education from the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Nuns.
Graduating with the senior class in the Spring of 1960; they were the first students to receive their diplomas from the newly built Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Coal Township, Pennsylvania.
Tom was a professional Drummer and played with many local Pennsylvania bands, including the ‘7 Notes’ and ‘Robin and the Red Vests’ back in the 1950s and 1960s.
…While attending college at Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, his draft number came up in 1964. He answered the call serving stateside as a Military Policeman at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. Tom was honorably discharged at the end of March 1966; at which time he returned to Mount Saint Mary’s to complete his college education, graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.
Tom became a professional salesman and accepted a position with Herff Jones Yearbooks out of the Gettysburg, PA facility in 1975. Showing much success, HJ offered Tom the position of Northeast Area Sales Manager. It was during this time he met the love of his life, Marilyn Flugum of Minnesota. Soon after, he was promoted to Northeast Regional Manager.
After several years in Gettysburg, the Midwest was calling Marilyn home, so Tom accepted the Plant Manager position in Marceline, MO in 1992, which he remained until his retirement in December of 2010, ending a 35-year career with Herff Jones Yearbook Division.
…Tom acquired friends wherever he went, many remained life-long, including a core group from his graduating class of 1960; managerial colleagues, and sales reps from Herff Jones; his Missouri hunting buddies; his decade-long breakfast buddy, Tully Reed; and his lunch buddies in Kansas City, MO. All of them felt both honored and proud to say that Tom was their friend. Lengthy conversations would ensue on the dynamics of the world today, stories from their younger years, love of music, especially jazz, and laugh-out-loud shenanigans would ensue.
…Tom possessed a good head for business, obtained Rock Star status as a Drummer, became an avid hunter after moving to Missouri, and was a good cook; learning from his mother and paternal aunts back in Shamokin, PA. Many a Sunday phone call was made to three of these women on how to duplicate their known and trusted Italian menus because, of course, there were no written recipes for these beloved meals.
Tom served on The View HOA Board of Directors for six years, five of which were as President.
While his professional life undoubtedly displayed the marks of a consummate businessman, Tom concludes the most profound act of his life had been being a good provider for his family.
Survivors include Marilyn James, his wife, and constant companion these past 37 years; his son TJ; grandson Markus, his wife Morgan, and great-granddaughter Baylor; step-daughter Nicole, her husband Abdi, and granddaughter Sophia; Brothers Carmen and Florian; favorite nephew Tyler, and goddaughter Maria.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, stepson Justin, great-nephew Austin, godparents Mary Minniti and John McNulty, as well as three aunts, six uncles, including his favorite Uncle Charlie, and many cousins.
Tom has been called to play the drums for a higher authority; let us all say – beat those skins Tom – we love it when you’re playing – you were a very special man and gave so much to so many.
Keep on LIVING THE DREAM!