James Joseph Licata, passed away peacefully, with family by his side, on December 17, 2020, at Country Club Retirement Center, Ashtabula, OH. The entire family is especially grateful for the opportunity to be with him the past two weeks.
He was born December 30, 1925 to Joseph and Mary (Mongello) Licata in Ashtabula. James married Lucille M. Vocca on August 8, 1953 at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church. They were married for 64 years and raised four children. To those that were close to James, many of them referred to him as “Jimmy”; and others called him “Tim”. This nickname was picked up in childhood, because he loved the cowboy, Tim McCoy. The nickname “Tim” stuck with him throughout his life.
A resident of Ashtabula his entire life. James left high school at age 17; and sailed the Great Lakes for a year on the SS Daniel J. Morrell, working as a Second Cook. During his time on the ship, he rode thru a storm that blew seven hundred rivets from the hull.
At 18, James enlisted in the Army and served in the European theatre of WWII, going into Germany through France. He served as a rifleman with the 255th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Division; and participated in combat operations against the enemy during the Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns. He was awarded a Purple Heart after an artillery shell from a German tank sent shrapnel into his face; he also earned a Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal and two Bronze Service Stars. James was a Prisoner of War for 18 days and was liberated when the War ended. At age 19, he and other POWs returned to the USA on a Liberty ship. He and his fellow soldiers met General Dwight D. Eisenhower and were asked if they would sleep on the deck of the ship to allow more soldiers on board.
Once back in the USA, in 1946, James started work at the New York Central railroad car shop. However, the majority of his work life was as a U.S. Postal letter carrier, from 1954 thru 1984. Later in life, he was still able to recite the house numbers and names of the residents he had once delivered mail.
James’ pride and joy was his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He thoroughly enjoyed gatherings and meals with his family and friends; watching the birds and wildlife in his backyard (sometimes even in the middle of the night, with a good cup of instant coffee); taking long walks to the Ashtabula Harbor; watching the progress at local construction worksites and the dredging of the Ashtabula River; reading; gardening; mowing his yard; and cooking. He was involved with the East Ashtabula Club, The Sons of Italy, NALC Union, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Annual Festivals.
James’ passing marks the end of a generation for his family, as he was the last surviving sibling from a family with ten children. He will always be remembered for his love and support, words of encouragement, humbleness, honor, sense of humor, and absolute love for good food. He will truly be missed.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, and siblings, William (Emily) Licate, Bernard (Mary) Licate, Josephine (James) Presciano, Celia (Anthony) Rich, Angelo (Leah) Licata, Carmel (Jack) Loveridge, “Baby James”, Angeline (Marino) Frabutt, Frank (Lorraine) Licate, and Louis (Barbara) Licate.
He is survived by his four children - Carmella (Michael) Gardner, Lawrence (Cynthia) Licata, Ronald (Kimberly) Licata, and Marian Licata, and seven grandchildren – James Licata, Julie (Isaac Willard) Licata, Timothy (Jessica) Licata, Robert (Micheline) Licata, Michael Gardner, Chris (Kelly) Gardner, and Heather Gardner. James is also survived by his five great grandchildren – Dylan and Zachary Licata, Grant Gardner, Evelyn Gardner, and Lorelei Licata.
The family would like to extend a special “Thank You” and acknowledgement to all the staff at Country Club Retirement Center for the wonderful care given throughout his residency. “Jimmy” knew and appreciated each and every one of you.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00am on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Mt. Carmel Church, 1200 East 21st St., Ashtabula, OH 44004. Family and friends are invited to join us. The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Hospice of the Western Reserve. Condolences can be made at guerrierofuneralhome.com
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