Rochester: Jim passed away peacefully at age 89 in Rochester, New York on August 5, 2020. He was predeceased by his loving wife Lucille (married 66 years), his parents Vincent and Mary Powers, sister Vivian Shultz and brothers Walter and Vincent Powers. He is survived by his son Scott, daughter Valorie (Stotz), daughter-in-law Laura and grandchildren, Cody Powers, Austin Powers, Jason Stotz and Jenni Stotz.
Jim was born and raised in Chicago Illinois, received a B.S. and M.A. degrees from Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois and served in the Air Force from 1951 – 1955. During that time, he met his future wife, Lucille DeFrank at the USO. They were married in 1952 and had 2 children, Scott & Valorie. He also taught at East High School from 1958 to 1966.
Jim entered the world of politics when he was elected as a Town Councilman of Chili in 1961 and re-elected in 1963. He was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1964 and re-elected in 1965. Jim continued to the New York State Senate elected in 1966 and re-elected in 1968 & 1970. He was a vibrant, caring leader, thriving on interacting with constituents and colleagues delighting in accomplishments that helped the people. Following politics, he was successful in several ventures including Director of Public Relations for an insurance company, Assistant Vice President for a bank, Business Real Estate Broker and owner of a company. In retirement, he returned to the Chili Town Board from 1987 – 1999. Jim and his wife Lu moved to Florida where they stayed for 13 years, before returning to Rochester in 2014.
Jim was an avid golfer, and followed his hometown Chicago Bears and beloved New York Yankees. He was an active member of the Church of the Epiphany from the 1950s to the present. He enjoyed music, particularly opera, but felt he better served the community by NOT singing! Jim also participated in community theater for several years. The joy of his life was spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
Jim was always very sociable, taking great pleasure in meeting new people and discussing any topic from the weather to politics. He loved to stop at a random table when leaving a restaurant to make a compliment, comment or joke because he loved to make people smile.
He made an impact in the Rochester area as well as all the lives he influenced over the years. His wit, humor, discussion and debating skills will be sorely missed. He is now in God’s arms as he has been welcomed home. Rest in peace.
Calling hours will be Sunday, August 9 from 12:00 to 2:00 at the James R. Gray Funeral Home, 1530 Buffalo Road, Rochester NY, 14624. A small service will follow at the funeral home. Please note masks are required and no more than 40 people will be allowed in at a time to enable social distancing.
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