James F. Mayer, age 83, of Hamden, passed away at his home surrounded by his family on April 13, 2020. Jim was born in Elizabeth, NJ on April 12, 1937, a son of the late John & Dorothy (Kirk) Mayer. Jim was predeceased by his beloved wife Bunny (Bernadette) Zeleski Mayer in 2016. He is survived by his daughters, Krista (Richard) Davis of Belding, MI, Kira (Craig) Barnes of Hamden, and Kendra (Jay Williams) LaTorraca of Bozrah; his son Kirk (Janet) Mayer of Waterbury; grandchildren Hannah & Elijah LaTorraca, Markus Burleigh, Jill & Jamie Yakushewich and Amanda & Nate Barnes; sisters Jacqueline (Don) VanOrden and Alyce (Gene) Cassidy; brother Robert Mayer; and many nieces & nephews. A 1959 graduate of Villanova University, Jim was a buyer of children's clothing for several companies over the years. Until 3 months ago he worked 3 days a week as sales associate for Ten Thousands Villages in New Haven - a job he started when he was 65. Jim has been a resident of Hamden since 1968, a member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and his area prayer group as well as a former member of the Flock of The Good Shepard prayer group in Cheshire. He enjoyed the birds and flowers in the park-like setting of his backyard. He volunteered regularly, taking people shopping or to doctor appointments. He forged many lifelong friendships. Everyone who met Jim loved him. He was a man of tremendous Catholic faith, easygoing, quick with a humorous reply and eager to teach you about his family's unique vocabulary. Nothing made him happier than when his friends at Ten Thousand Villages picked up his vernacular. He loved new adventures - a bus trip to New Hampshire to tour lighthouses, to New York to see FDR's home or to Vermont for leaf-peeping. He was able to visit Krista and Rick out in Michigan several times and just loved sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) watching the waterfowl and all the happenings out on the lake. Much fun was had on several trips to NYC to catch a Broadway show and dinner with his life-long friend Gary Tackas and his family at their favorite restaurant. He was fortunate enough to visit his niece and her family in South Carolina a few years back with Krista and it was most definitely a trip to remember. He always said he had the best outlaws (our word for in-laws). He enjoyed a cocktail or two at day's end. He and Mom loved their gin martinis or Manhattans. He always scoured the mailers for the best wine-by-mail clubs and if a better deal could be had elsewhere, he'd switch in a heartbeat! Depending on the Sunday, it was either the Michigan update (which included side bar conversations with Rick, his F.A. - Financial Advisor), the Jersey City update or both. After he was talked out, he usually headed to a local theater to catch the latest movie release. Not a fan of sci-fi or 'bang-bang-shoot-em-up' movies as he'd called them, his tastes ran more toward period pieces, suspense thrillers or even foreign language films. He often snuck in his own snacks and once got busted for it! He looked forward to discussing them at periodic movie club meetings. He loved classical music and that was often the background to mundane daily tasks. He loved to dance and missed the times he and Mom would cut a rug more regularly. He's always listened to Big Band music every Saturday night and since Mom's passing in 2016, we referred to that night as 'crying night.' He would reminisce about her and all the fun times of their lives together. He took great pride in his home. Over the years he always kept up with the painting and yard work. A handyman he was not, but he had his crew of professionals who helped him make the most of his home. Every season brought a change of the tchotchkes. Kira and Craig helped him with this ever-increasing task. They transformed the house to spring before he came home from rehab. No one could make tacos better than Kirk and salads better than Kira. Comparatively speaking, Krista failed at these tasks during his visits to Michigan. The tacos were too dry and had the wrong shells, the salad didn't have grapes in it or the lunch meat was sliced too thick. When she added grapes to the salad, of course they were the wrong color grapes. He liked red grapes! The things ya learn! Every night in a gruff and growling voice, he'd ask Betty Crocker aka Kira, 'what's for supper?' He enjoyed his daily, dinner time conversations with Janet. He always enjoyed his visits with Kendra sitting on the porch, sipping numerous cocktails, chatting about life's ups and downs and he was always there for her and the kids, no matter what, her rock. When the grandchildren were younger the whole family dressed up for Halloween in a theme and Dad always participated. Themes included cereal characters (Quaker Oats Man), rock stars (Elton John), Nightmare Before Christmas (Dr. Finkelstein), Flintstones (Barney), Addams Family (Uncle Fester), Peanuts (Charlie Brown). He loved his kids, their spouses, his grandchildren and all of their friends. You know you have something special when the friends of your kids think of you as a second Dad and as such affectionately called him Pa. He became everyone's favorite old man.The circle of people who cared about him is as large as his love for them all. He was often surprised if someone told him about something he had done (that he had forgotten about) that had a major impact on their lives. He didn't make a big whoopie-do about things - he just quietly lead by example. Funeral and burial in Phoenixville, PA will be private due to our nation's pandemic. The graveside service will be on Facebook Live, Saturday, April 18 at approximately 12 noon. Dad would laugh at the prospect that his funeral could go viral. Arrangements are in care of BEECHER & BENNETT FUNERAL HOME, 2300 Whitney Ave, Hamden. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jim's memory are asked to be made to the American Kidney Fund, www.kidneyfund.org or to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org.

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  1. I will never forget the beautiful evening my fiance and I sat with Jim, his daughter Kira and her husband Craig for hours and had such a lovely conversation of faith and much more. Jim left such a lovely impression on me that I have held that night in my heart every since. It is one I will never forget. Thank you Jim. To his family and loved ones, my prayers and condolences are with you at this time. May he rest in peace.

  2. Jim was so easy for me to talk to when his wife he shard his experience with an underlying Amherst accepted everyone as they were I’m glad I got to know him and then his family

  3. Jimbo, how thankful I am to have moved to Dixwell Ave & become dear friends with not only Kendra, but your family. Whether playing cards late into the night. Crashing your family trips. Listening to Bobby Darren & having some drinks, laughing and sometimes crying together-I cherish all of the memories. No matter if a month or two years passed -we’d pick right up where we left off! Hugging, talking. Laughing. You will be so missed and certainly are one in a million. Thanks for the memories not only as -my friend’s dad- but as my friend -Jimbo-. Rest easy with Big Band music playing in the background and a -drink-poo- at your side. I love you all. Many hugs and prayers and love to each of you. Always, Audrey

  4. Krista and Family: I am so thankful that I got to meet your sweet father a few years ago. What a wonderful, kind man. You are blessed with a strong family because of the values he and your mother instilled in you. So very blessed! My heart is with you. Suzy Alberts

  5. Oh Audrey, you made me cry. He so loved you! You are a part of our family and we all have had many great times together. You and Pa have that same gentle soul. I love you!

  6. so sorry to learn of your Dad’s passing. I will remember him in my prayers. God Bless you all. Janet Sola

  7. Thank you Jenn! That was beautiful! It is a night that I will never forget either. It is always a pleasure to spend time with you guys just as it was to spend time with Pa.

  8. Uncle Jim, Your presence was always a joy to share. Your ability for total recall of the events of your life and the Family were amazing. Your loving nature was your calling card and you probably never met a stranger. I thank God for your visit to South Carolina to bless the Quay Family, no one here will ever forget you. You did what we all should do, you made a positive loving difference where ever you were. Thanks for the blessing of your love and quiet joy, we will miss you forever..Rest In Peace, Uncle Jim, you are Paradise bound. Earl

  9. We had so much fun spending an evening with Jim and his daughter Krista and her husband Rick at their house in Michigan. It was a very special evening that lasted until the wee hours. He was a funny, generous, entertaining gentleman. RIP dear sir. Our love and sympathies are with your family. Marty & Ray

  10. I met Jim a few years ago while Visiting his store, 10,000 villages and we chatted for a long time about movies. He invited me to join the movie group that he was a part of. Jim was a lovely man and well versed on a variety of subjects. I will miss seeing him. Rest in peace Jim Darlene Casella

  11. I’ve lived next door for 25 years. I enjoyed our talks in the backyard, around the fire pit dressed up for Halloween, the summer parties in the backyard with the whole family. It’s been such a pleasure. I will miss you. Condolences to the family.

  12. It was a complete pleasure to know Jim in the Silver Screens Movie Group. His insightful comments and subtle sense of humor enriched our conversations. I will miss him!!!

  13. So sorry to hear about your dad. I enjoyed running into him in New Haven on my lunch breaks at 10000 villages Condolences Jen and Eddie McEnerney

  14. So sorry to hear the news about Jim. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the movie club, and enjoyed very much his comments and our talks. Meetings will not be the same without him. Condolences to the family for your loss.

  15. Thank you Cynthia. Pa has always spoke kindly of you and told many of stories about the times you moved to the neighborhood. He has been blessed to have neighbors such as yourself for so many ywars.

  16. Thank you Cynthia. You are a wonderful person and neighbor. I hope we can still hang out around the firepit again, in his honor.

  17. Thank you Jenn. He spoke kindly of you and Billy as well. It is a night that we will always remember and cherish. I’m thankful you both got to meet him and equally thankful he got you meet you two as well. So many kind souls that evening.

  18. You were his fake daughter and he loved you so much as you always bring smiles to the faces that surround you. You are a beautiful soul as he was. Like souls stick together. I love you.

  19. Jim hired me as a volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages in 2004. We would work together for the next 16 years. Always a friendly face to customers or employees, Jim knew the -biz-. I always looked forward to seeing him, and TTV will not be the same. Dave Tolles

  20. Our condolences to the Mayer family….Jim was an outstanding man and well loved and respected by everyone. He was very religious in all respects. He worked for Triangle Tool Co in North Branford for many years and was happy to be working with the nice people there. Jim will be missed by so many who really knew him and admired him. With sympathy, Teresa (Nick) Rapuano and family

  21. We are so sorry to hear this. Our condolences to the family. Our prayers are with you. He was a favorite of ours, loved talking with him, he was a kind and interesting man. Will miss him greatly. All of us at Hindinger Farm

  22. Dear Kendra, we met on a bus trip with your Dad a few years ago. I knew your Dad from his work at Ten Thousand Villages, where I was a frequent flyer. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Your Dad had such a wry sense of humor, and always talked about his children and your Mom. He truly treasured his family. I’ll miss his smile and humor. May God Bless you and keep you through these very difficult times. Heather Reynolds

  23. Jim was a man you could not help loving. Always friendly, smiling and laughing and quick witted. He actually became my .Avon Man, yes man, about 35 years ago. Of course Bunny was behind the whole works, but he used to come to the house to deliver the .goods.!! Always had his little change purse to make sure you received the correct change and many times I would say, oh no worries for 3 cents, but he would say oh no, Bunny wants to keep the records straight!! I used to get the biggest kick out of that. He always had time for that friendly chat and I always enjoyed his stories. Bunny was my Avon rep. for over 20 years. I loved them both. My sincere condolances to his whole beautiful family. He was a good man. May he rest in peace with his beautiful wife.

  24. I got to know Jim while working as a volunteer at 10,000 Villages. He was gracious and kind and working with him was a pleasure. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  25. I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad. I remember him always being even-keeled and with a smile. Sending hugs and prayers for strength to you all.

  26. I had the pleasure of getting to know your precious Pa as a member of the Silver Screens Movie Club! He was such a sweet, loving, upbeat, witty man who so loved his children and his dearly departed .Bunny.. I looked forward to seeing him and sharing his insights about life and the movies of the month! He was a beautiful soul! I will miss him! Maybe it’s appropriate that Jim’s death coincided with the closing of all movie theaters! He would have had a smile, a twinkle in his eye, and a witty comment to honor the irony! May all the wonderful memories you shared with your Pa & his beloved .Bunny. bring you comfort! He loved & enjoyed you so!

  27. I read about James’ death in the Star Ledger. I am so sorry for your loss. Death of a loved one can be very distressing even if the person is elderly or sick. I would like to share the Bible’s hope for those who have died and an encouragement for those who have lost a loved one. The Bible teaches us that death was not part of God’s original plan. He wanted man to live forever on a paradise earth. Man disobeyed God and brought about sin and death to the human race. God’s plan will still be realized. Isaiah 55:11 states, .So my word that goes out of my mouth will be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight. It will have sure success in what I send it to do.. The Bible talks about a resurrection of those who have died. (Acts 25:15, John 5:28, 29) The word resurrection in the Bible literally means .a standing up again. and .revival of the dead.. The provision for resurrection of the dead is a magnificent expression of God’s undeserved kindness. It displays his wisdom and power and is a means by which his original purpose regarding the earth and humans will be carried out. If you would like to know more about what the Bible teaches, please visit JW.org. Sincerely, Paula

  28. I’m sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. My thoughts are with his loved ones. I enjoyed working with him at TTV in New Haven 2009-2011. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was a good team player.

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