James ( Jim ) Alessi , known locally to many as " The Music Man " passed peacefully at his home in Wickenburg, after a short, courageous bout with cancer.
Jim was born in Manhattan NYC in 1928, went to Flushing High School ( Queens ) NY and served as a radar man in the U.S. Navy from 1945-1948 and continued in officer training for in the Naval Reserve until his honorable discharge in 1953.
In Phoenix he studied business at Arizona State College and met his bride-to-be Diane ( Pieters) Alessi in 1949 and they were married in 1952 at St. Gregory's Parish. In 1955 Jim was hired by Arizona Public Service and assigned to Wickenburg, where he worked as regional sales manager for 20 years. He and fell in love with Wickenburg and its people and remained convinced it was the best place anywhere to live to raise a family . Retiring from APS he went into Real Estate in 1974, and later , along with Diane, opened and managed Century 21 Arizona West Realty, running it sucessfully for over 30 years.
Jim believed in Wickenburg and was a long-time activist in local civic life . He was President of the Jaycees (1958) Chamber of Commerce ( 1968 ), a Charter member of the local Elks Lodge, and an active member of the American Legion and VFW. He supervised many March of Dimes Charity Drives, and was a nationally honored member of Lions Club International for humanitarian endeavours, organizing yearly charity events which funded eye surgery and eyeglasses for the needy. He remained an active Council member of St. Anthony's Parish since 1955, for many years organizing Charity Drives. He could be seen as greeting parishoners and guests at 8:00 Mass for over 20 years.
He is preceded in death by his father Joseph Alessi of NYC and Wickenburg , his Mother Joan Fisher ( Sullivan ) of Idylwild and Blythe, California, and his younger sister Joan Alessi ( Ventre ) of Patchogue, NY . He is survived by his wife of 64 years , Diane, and his son Gary ( Rebekah ) and grandaughter Shoshanah Alessi of San Francisco, and son Glen ( Adele ) Alessi of Fidenza , Parma, Italy, along with nieces and nephews in New York, California, Oregon and Metro-Phoenix.
Jim will be remembered for his insatiable enthusiam for Classic American music from from the 1920's , 30's and 40's as well as Country. He loved sharing his collection in music and finding the latest audio gadget to showcase it in his 'Music Room'. He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of classic American cars and vintage movies. He loved the desert with its rocks, fauna, reptiles , sunsets and storms. He was an excellent swing dancer, and like his mother and aunts, could carry a tune. Jim credited his longevity and health to daily aerobics, which he practiced daily for over 50 years. Jim loved his traditionally home-cooked Italian food and Coors Light. He was a dedicated and loving father and husband and would like to have been to be remembered as being a proud American and felt very grateful and lucky for having had a very blessed and full life.
Internment will be at St. Anthony's Catholic Church Colombarium. The funeral will be held Saturday, August 20th at 10.00.