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Boulder Creek California Volunteer Fire Department
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Life Story / Obituary
Witty, wonderful, and wise, James Bosco lived a life rich in faith and family. Jim was a man who embodied the principles of his faith. He embraced every moment as a gift and every person as a friend. He never hesitated to give of his time and talents in service of others, often providing safe harbor in life's storms and ensuring the preservation of the community's natural wonders. He always led with his heart and could lighten even the heaviest moments with his fabulous sense of humor. Jim's greatest delight was his family and he cherished nothing more than spending time with them. A proud and devoted husband, father, grandfather, teacher, and friend, Jim inspired all who were blessed to know him.
Despite the obvious gloom of the growing conflict in Europe, 1939 held much to celebrate, including the end of the Great Depression, the premieres of the classic films Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, television broadcasting nationwide, and The World's Fair in New York. As the US actively armed for war, families continued to center their lives in love and hope for a brighter future. Nowhere was that hope more evident than in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as Joseph and Theresa (Pezone) Bosco welcomed their son, Jim, into the world on April 18.
The youngest of the three Bosco Boys, Jim grew up on Pittsburgh's north side where the enticing scent of fresh tomatoes from the Heinz Ketchup Factory filled the neighborhood. The Bosco home was rooted in faith and family traditions. His father, a tailor, immigrated from Italy and his mother dedicated herself to creating a warm and inviting home for her family. Many family gatherings and holidays were celebrated around a large table and faith provided a strong cornerstone upon which to build relationships and a future.
From an early age, Jim felt the call to use his personal gifts to serve his community. Upon this foundational value, as a graduate of North Catholic High School, Jim began to pursue a career in education at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. With his bachelor's degree in hand, he taught elementary students and studied for his master's degree in education at the University of Pittsburgh. With his sights on teaching at the university level, Jim continued his education at the University of Columbia, ultimately earning a doctoral degree.
As a young college student, Jim had the good fortune of meeting the love of his life, Sharon Miner. They lived in the same co-ed dorm and were part of a common circle of friends that often went to the Harvard Club for drinks. With a smile as bright as the sun, Sharon instantly held the key to Jim's heart, and their friendship quickly bloomed into romance. With hearts set on spending their lives together, the happy couple married in 1965, officially beginning their 54-year adventure.
Shortly after their honeymoon, Jim secured a position at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. He and Sharon settled into their new community and were soon blessed to welcome three sons to their family. Mark, James, and Joseph quickly became the centers of their worlds and the source of much joy. Jim and Sharon worked as a team to afford their boys a loving and supportive home. Jim was his children's biggest fan and valued nothing more than creating treasured memories with his family. As a father, he parented with a wonderful sense of humor. He enjoyed joking around with his kids and encouraged their schooling. A natural storyteller, he loved entertaining them with original stories he made up while driving in the car. Always perfectly timing the latest tale's conclusion with their arrival home.
Jim was involved in all aspects of his boys' lives. He often worked late or taught night classes and was always greeted with his kids' excitement when he arrived home. A lifelong learner, he was never afraid to try something new and develop new skills. He even coached his boys through soccer, despite not knowing nearly as much about the game as they did. He was a wonderful role model whose greatest gift was the beautiful relationship he fostered with his wife. Jim showed by example how a good man treats a good woman and the importance of consciously building a marriage upon love, mutuality, and respect. Jim and Sharon shared an affinity for one another that proved a source of comfort and inspiration for all who were lucky enough to witness it.
As a university professor, Jim focused on his passions for school reform and technology. He directed several technology training projects for pre-service and in-service teachers and other support personnel, always striving to empower the next generation of teachers with the very best tools. In time, he became the director of the Office of Educational Technology in Western Michigan University's College of Education, leading his department with intellect, dedication, empathy, and good humor.
Jim was also a naturalist, whose passion for the outdoors was nourished by combing the beaches of California, where he had a second home tucked in the redwood forests. Every year, he would drive across the country to spend the summer restoring his spirit and exploring nature's wonders. When his children were very young, the family traveled to the coast by train. As the kids grew older, they would make the trek in the family car, taking a new route each time and often needing to make unplanned stops for car parts along the way. Jim also had the opportunity to travel Europe extensively. While in Italy, he met his relatives who still lived there and made several close friends through their travels. Jim shared a wonderful relationship with his father-in-law, Mark. The kindred spirits took many trips together while Sharon and the kids stayed with her mom.
Locally, Jim was a fierce advocate for preserving and protecting local wonders like Asylum Lake. Always looking for ways to support his community, Jim was instrumental in the Kalamazoo Promise and even helped Pittsburgh begin a similar program. He and Sharon have been active members of St. Thomas More Student Parish since they first settled in Kalamazoo. Jim was an unwavering fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and also loved the Opera. He had a wonderful grand piano and frequently listened to the masterful works of Giacomo Puccini.
Without a doubt, Jim's delight was his family. As his sons grew into adulthood and began families of their own, Jim enveloped his daughters-in-law with love and pride. His five grandchildren, Bella, Mark, Anna, Juliet, and Anthony were also a source of great joy. In each of their eyes, he could easily see the reflections of his and Sharon's legacy and his greatest hopes for the future.
Though it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Jim's steadfast presence, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories and in the privilege of carrying his legacy forward. With each beach walk and road trip we take, family meal we gather to share, challenge we meet with confidence, and young person we empower to chase their dream, we celebrate the many ways Jim gifted the world. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired each of us.
Dr. James J. Bosco Sr., of Kalamazoo, Age 81, died on February 18, 2021. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers: Bishop Anthony Bosco of Greensburg, PA, and Joseph Bosco of New Kensington, PA; Surviving are his wife of 54 wonderful years, Sharon; children: Mark (Laura) Bosco, James (Elizabeth) Bosco Jr., and Joseph (Carrie) Bosco; 5 grandchildren: Bella, Mark, Anna, Juliet, and Anthony; and his nieces and nephews: Joanne, Gina, Mari Anne, and Eric. Cremation has taken place. A memorial mass will take place at a later date. Visit Jim's personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you may read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Boulder Creek California Volunteer Fire Department. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.