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While watching football, “Now Go!” was a favorite phrase of James Alison LaBrake. An avid sports fan, Jim knew timing was critical on any playing field, even in life. After a battle with blood cancer and permission from his friends and family to give up the fight, James Alison LaBrake born on 4/17/1936, was able to say, “Now Go” on 12/7/22. In good weather, you’d find him proudly manicuring his lawn or on a golf course with his sons. He loved sitting on his front porch with his wife of 60 years, Linda, or his #1 best friend, Jimmy. He felt lifted up when his neighbors waved or joined him on the porch to share what was happening in their life. He looked forward to visits from the neighborhood dogs but not so much the chipmunks and gently relocated them to “Braker-ville” down the road. In bad weather, you’d find him in his workshop with a beer, singing with a twang to the likes of George Jones and Janis Joplin or watching sports in his Man Cave, enjoying freshly made popcorn with his family and friends. Jim had a knack for problem-solving, and it showed in his long career as a skilled technician for Pactiv, who called him out of retirement to be a traveling troubleshooter. He believed every problem had a solution; perhaps that’s why he was a jigsaw puzzle master. In his prime, he loved golf, playing basketball in his driveway, and organizing tag football at the local park in Farmington. Jim was a storyteller who could turn an everyday moment into an engaging tale, like when he left his rental car running through an entire ballgame. He liked to bend the rules and push boundaries. Let’s not forget when he showed his son how to drag race a cop. While perfection can only be faked, Jim was a good faker. He believed the quality of anyone’s life could be as good as your organization and attention to detail. Exhibit A: His workshop could have graced the papers of any woodworking magazine.
He was loved by many. Family left behind to cherish his memories include his Wife, Linda; his four children, Mike (Wanda R), Tammy (Pam), Jamie (Wanda G), Shawn; sister Jenny; four grandchildren, Lisa, Michelle, Nikki, Dylan; five great-grandchildren and lots of grand-fur-babies.
Some of the memories to cherish include going to Hawaii with his wife, dancing with her, enjoying NYC with his grandchildren, playing sports with his sons, (especially when his sons watched him get that hole-in-one at Crooked Pines), attending his son, Shawn’s USBC Hall of Fame induction ceremony, working on many projects with his daughter-in-laws, enjoying cocktails and wings with his family at outdoor bars, singing with his daughter and accompanying her to Wisconsin to get a curly-coated puppy. Currently, he is in heaven enjoying eggs and bacon with his parents, Gertrude and Eddy, and later, he’ll have a thick juicy steak with his cat, Moker, and brothers, Don, Jack and Larry.
A true testament to the kind of man Jim was can be found in the loving kindness he received at Shaker Place Nursing Home & Rehabilitation in Albany, NY. The staff only had 9 months to know him but quickly learned he liked to joke around, eat, work on projects and show his unwavering appreciation. They treated him as if he was a member of their own family. The first time he was administered morphine, the nurse explained it goes in the mouth into the cheek. Pointing to his arse, he asked which cheek do you want? Even in his last few days, he made us all laugh. We will miss you, James LaBrake…Now Go.
Calling Hours will be held from 4-6 pm on Friday 12/16/22 at Miller Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc., 301 E. Main St., Victor, NY. Jim would love for you to share his love for animals by sending a donation to the Lollypop Farm Humane Society. (WEBSITE) Following the calling hours join his family at the Village Victor Inn for a special toast to a man who made a difference!