James E. ‘Jim’ Raffle, 83

EAST LIVERPOOL – James (Jim) Eugene Raffle, born Dec. 10, 1934, in East Liverpool, Ohio, to Pauline and Orville, passed away Feb. 22, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pa., with his family by his side.

Jim graduated from Salineville High School in 1952, and attended Youngstown State for a year-and-a-half. During this time, Jim loved to play basketball and rollerskate; he met his future wife, Sue, at a skating rink, where he asked her to a couple’s skate. While she played coy, Sue couldn’t resist Jim’s big blue eyes and jet black hair. They laced up their skates, married three years later on Dec. 9, 1955, and never sat under the apple tree with anyone else. Jim and Sue were inseparable and devoted and full of faith and wisdom. They were the best partners, parents, and grandparents. They were a force to be reckoned with and a guiding light.

In 1957, Jim and Sue had their first daughter, Patti, who gave them a run for their money, but before they could realize what they were in for, they had another daughter, Kathy, just one year later in 1958. Patti and Kathy enjoyed their parents’ full attention for about a decade until Jim and Sue seemingly forgot what they were dealing with and had another daughter, Jayma, in 1968. The three daughters were, and forever will be, daddy’s girls, and all four women were Jim’s heart and soul. He was patient and honest and full of sage advice. He never raised his voice even when he was mad. He filled their house with music and laughter and art and hugs and understanding and flowers on every birthday. He was a role model for his daughters and the epitome of a perfect man, and, while no one will ever live up to their dad, Jim dearly loved all his sons-in-law like his own.

Jim had seven grandchildren: Marisa Ward, Tia (Alan) Gore, Derek (Renee) Knepper, Kayla (Lisa) Bryan-Morris, Andre Dawson, Kyle (Amber) Knepper, and Taylor Falkner. Jim’s grandkids have decades worth of stories and tales, and there are thousands of things about him they will miss. Every time one of the kids walked in the door, Pap Jim would burst into song, “If I knew you were coming, I’d’ve baked a cake!” He tried to teach them how to sing and draw, saying that the most crucial thing was to draw with your eyes; overthinking gets you nowhere. None inherited his talents. Pap Jim, while hard of hearing, always seemed to miraculously hear his grandkids just a little bit better than he heard Grandma. They all loved to watch him draw and hum, and he always swam and played basketball and watched Ohio State games with them. He made Christmases especially special with his train sets; songs; life-sized, hand-carved and painted Peanuts carolers dressed as the grandkids; and, of course, Christmas Eve beer pong.

Jim worked at Summitville Tile for eight years and retired from Allstate Insurance after 30 years. After retirement, he and Sue bought a camper and traveled around the country, going from Ohio to Texas to California and back.

Jim is survived by his wife, Sue; his three daughters: Patti (Ken) Morris, Kathy (Don) Knepper, and Jayma (Ray) Falkner; his sister, Joanne; seven grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; and a multitude of friends. He was preceded in death by his mother, Pauline; his father, Orville; and his grandson, Brenden Falkner, who passed away four months ago and no doubt greeted his grandfather with his signature smile and a hug; they will be on a couch in the heavens watching Ohio State and the Steelers/Browns games this fall.

If you knew Jim, you likely heard him sing somewhere – in his barbershop quartet, The Colonials; in church; in a talent show; or maybe, if you were lucky, Constitution Hall, where his quartet placed 3rd in the International Barbershop Quartet Competition. And if you ever had the pleasure of meeting Jim, you probably have a caricature he drew of you, or maybe you have one of his thousands of other paintings hanging in your house. And if you don’t, you definitely saw his murals at the library or American Legion or on the side of a building. Maybe you were a member of the Elks with Jim where you enjoyed his company, leadership, and a cold beer. If you knew Jim, you know what this world had, you know what this world will miss, and you know what a loving, soulful, melodic, colorful, patient, kind, and better world he left us.

Friends may visit with the family at the Dawson Funeral Home from 3-5 p.m. on Monday. An Elks service will be conducted by Elks Lodge 258 at 4:30 p.m.

Pastor Larry Rose of Northside Community Church will officiate at a service at 5 p.m. at the funeral home. Jim will be laid to rest at Yellow Creek Cemetery.

Following the service, friends and family will gather at Northside Church for a continued time of fellowship. Donations can be made in Jim’s name to the East Liverpool Elks Post 258 Kids Christmas Party or to Northside Community Church.

View Jim’s memorial webpage and express condolences to the family online at www.dawsonfuneralhome.com.