James “Jim” Anthony Staiano
James “Jim” Anthony Staiano, a lifelong Hunterdon County resident, passed away on November 24, 2017, following complications from a heart transplant. He was 70 years old.
Jim was born November 4, 1947, in Somerville, NJ to Emma and Louis Staiano of Califon, NJ. He graduated from North Hunterdon High School in 1965 and American University in 1969.
Jim was an avid sports fan and particularly proud of his baseball achievements. He often told the motivating story of being cut from the freshman baseball team at NHHS. He had such a love for the game and confidence in himself that he asked the coach for a second chance. He ultimately made the team and went on to play for the next 12 plus years. He excelled as the catcher and cleanup hitter at American University, where he held the RBI for a single season record and capped off his final at bat with a grand slam.
Following college, Jim returned to Hunterdon County and was very proud to be a part of the semi-pro Tri County Baseball League, which was highlighted in the book Covered Wooden Grandstands, adopted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. As a young man, Jim taught at the NJ State Reformatory in Annandale. He told many stories from his days working at the Reformatory, including the riot of 1973. Later that same year, Jim and his brother Bill had the opportunity to take on their father’s manufacturing and retail business, Staiano Wood Products, Inc. For the next 35 years, Jim enjoyed the ups and downs of running a local family business. The biggest joy for him was when friends old and new, near and far would swing by or call the store just to say hello.
Jim’s passion in life, however, was golf. He golfed from the time he was a young child until the week he went for the transplant. He was an excellent golfer, who over his lifetime, enjoyed playing courses around the country and the world. Unquestionably though, what Jim enjoyed most about golf, was simply playing countless rounds of a game he loved with people he loved. Jim’s even temperament, friendly nature and admirable skill were evident to all who joined him in chasing the little white ball.
Jim was a people person. He loved his family and friends immensely and was a quietly sentimental soul. He was especially proud of his children, Stephanie Staiano Donlon (Jeff), of Bethlehem Township, Anthony Staiano (Jennifer) of Lakeland, FL and Andrew Staiano (Chrysa) of Bethlehem Township, and their families. He will be missed tremendously by his children and grandchildren, his brother Bill and family, as well as the countless friends and extended family, whose lives he touched.
A visitation will be held on Friday, December 1, 2017, from 4-6 PM in the Coughlin Funeral Home 15 Academy Street, Califon NJ 07830 and a memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 11 AM in the Lower Valley Presbyterian Church 445 County Rd 513, Califon, NJ 07830. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim’s memory should be made to the American Heart Association.