James John Cofino

Tributes~James John Cofino

James John Cofino
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Date of Birth: 
May 16 1910
Date of Death: 
January 9 1998

James John Cofino (birth name Vincenzo Cofino) was born on Monday, May 16, 1910, in West Springfield, Massachusetts. He was the second child of Anna Gaudiello and Luigi Cofino (immigrants from Sarno, Italy) and their first born in the United States. In 1911, the small family moved to New Rochelle, NY and later to Port Chester, NY. It was there that his younger siblings, Anthony, Margaret and Neil were born and where he and his older brother, Joe spent their childhood years.

When Jim was about eight years old, he and some friends began to caddie and “weeding the greens” at what would become the West Chester Country Club. They were paid 75¢ for 47 holes. He enjoyed golf and was thrilled at the opportunity to learn from the best golfers of the day. By fourteen years of age, Jim was considered to be on his way to a professional golf career. That dream was cut short when, at the age of 16, he lost his right leg due to an accidental cut on his knee that became infected and led to gangrene. After recovering from the amputation, the West Chester Country Club offered Jim a lifetime job. They started him as a receiving clerk and quickly moved him up to the mailroom, from there, Jim advanced to accounts receivable and paymaster. Jim was doing so well, they sent him to school to learn how to use the comptometer. He took pride in never being late for work and always doing his best.

While working at the Club, Jim met a lovely Irish immigrant, Nora O’Rourke. She was employed as a governess by one of the club members. On June 10, 1933, Jim and Nora O’Rourke were married at the Church of the Resurrection on Boston Post Road in Rye, New York. Nora’s brother, Tom and her best friend Nora Shaughnessy were their witnesses.

The couple lived in Port Chester where their two daughters, Kathleen and Norene were born. They went to Corpus Christi Catholic Church and later Saint Mary’s where their daughters attended school. In 1949 they left family and friends behind to move to Florida in hope of a warmer climate and new opportunities.

Jim gave up his lifetime position at the Country Club, but he never gave up on golfing. He remained an avid golfer, twice making a hole-in-one, and winning the seniors cup in 1981 -- quite an accomplishment for a man with a heavy wooden leg. One of his fondest memories was playing with Arnold Palmer at Bay Hills Country Club.

Jim was a creative cook who thoroughly enjoyed preparing tasty dishes like his famous spaghetti sauce. Nothing made him happier than having someone over to share a meal that he had prepared. His family was everything to him. He was always a loving father and grandfather who eagerly welcomed each new baby to his growing family.

Jim and Nora were married for thirty-six years. After she passed away in 1969, Jim met and married Betty Murray. She loved and cared for him until his death on January 8, 1998.

Media data: 
Place of Birth: 
Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
Place of Death: 
Auburndale, Florida, United States
Primary State of Residence: 
Orlando, Florida, United States

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