James H. ("Skip") Gianfagna
James H. ("Skip") Gianfagna
September 02, 1943 ‐ May 02, 2020
James Holland Gianfagna (“Skip”), age 76. Born September 2, 1943 in Washington, DC. Passed away May 2, 2020 at his home in Westlake, surrounded by his loving family.
Beloved life partner and husband of 38 years of Jean (nee Merritt). Devoted father of Vicki (Darren) Shequen of Victoria, MN, Stephanie of Columbia, MD, James of Cleveland, OH, and Mary (Adam) Smith of London, England. Loving granddad of Karen Beall, Bryan (Jaclyn) Beall, and Kelly (fiancé Rob Rose) Beall; great-granddad of Clark Beall; godfather of Dr. Kelly Velgersdyk. Dear brother of Dr. Richard (Diana), Thomas, and Carol Cannon.Treasured son-in-law, brother-in-law, father-in-law, uncle, cousin, nephew, and loyal friend to countless others. He was predeceased by his parents, James John and Ann Jean (nee Holland) Gianfagna, his brother Tom, and his sister Carol.
Skip was loved by all who knew him. His warmth, friendliness, kindness, authenticity, and zest for living made him a joy to be with. He was the living embodiment of the Gianfagna family motto, Soprattutto la Famiglia (“Above All, the Family”).
His happiest hours were spent planning, preparing, and sharing meals with family and friends. He was a great cook who needed multiple binders for all the recipes he tried and planned to try. He welcomed new culinary adventures and especially loved cooking with his kids, each of whom became a skilled cook thanks to his influence. He was an extraordinary host; everyone who knew him can picture him in the kitchen, laughing, stirring a pot, and making sure each guest had a full glass of wine.
He was an amazing father who was adored by his children. He coached his kids’ youth soccer, baseball, and softball teams, and later became their biggest fan, never missing a volleyball or basketball game. Always patient and wise, he was a curious and attentive listener. He encouraged his children to pursue their interests and supported them however he could. His legendary sense of humor could make anyone laugh and his playfulness could create a game out of any situation.
Skip was a man of great character who believed strongly in fairness, truth, loyalty, and honor. He lived his life and pursued his interests with such passion and happiness that it would have been impossible for his children and grandchildren not to embrace the same interests and adopt the same passion. He is unforgettable, and he leaves an endless void in the lives of his family members.
He had a deep and abiding faith in God and was a devoted member of Westlake United Methodist Church, serving as a Stephen Minister, usher, Sunday school teacher, Men’s Group member, and volunteer. He also was a master gardener, accomplished fisherman, skilled photographer, music lover, and charter member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
His successful career in public affairs and marketing included senior positions at the U.S. Department of Energy and serving as National Marketing Director for the Savings Bonds Division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He later became Vice President of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing, Inc. He was a proud graduate of the University of Maryland.
Donations in Skip’s memory can be made to Westlake United Methodist Church, 27650 Center Ridge Rd., Westlake, OH 44145, https://westlakeumc.org/
Arrangements by Jenkins Funeral Chapel. Private interment at Evergreen Cemetery, Westlake, OH. A memorial service and celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.