×

Culley's MeadowWood Funeral Home

1737 Riggins Road, Tallahassee, FL

OBITUARY

Jim Philippou

February 1, 1978March 17, 2020
Play Tribute Movie

James (Jim) Castas Philippou, age 42, of Tallahassee, FL, left us March 17, 2020 to be reconnected with his beloved dog, Miller, for an eternity of playing with tennis balls and shared steak dinners. Jim is predeceased by his dog, Miller and survived by his parents, Phil and Karla Philippou of Clearwater, FL; brother John Philippou of Las Vegas, NV; sister Laura Ayre, and her children Eli and Emma, of Holiday, FL; his fiancée Hillary Haythorn and her daughter Kaitlyn Okleja of Tallahassee, FL; and myriad other friends and family whose lives are forever better because of Jim’s impact.

To best understand and remember Jim, it is most important to start with his journey and to end with a reflection of the unprecedented impact, legacy, and standard for living that he leaves us to remember and pursue.

Jim was born February 1, 1978, to Phil and Karla in Manhattan and was raised in Clearwater, FL. Jim was the first of three siblings, followed by his brother, John, and sister, Laura. If you were to ask Jim, he was clearly the favorite sibling. And the smartest. And the hardest working. And the best-looking. Yet, regardless of his self-proclaimed superlatives (which he would tell you are merited and earned), what is most important to know is that he was loved and appreciated as a son and brother – and accordingly – his family’s actions encouraged him to love and appreciate those who he met in his next stage in life.

Jim was a class favorite upon graduating from Countryside High School. After graduation, he attended the University of Central Florida. Jim made many lifelong friends while at UCF supporting his Knights and becoming a local celebrity by having his picture inside the Student Union on campus. Many of these friends became part of Jim’s “Camping Crew” with whom he would camp every year on MLK Day weekend. As many know, after a weekend in the woods, bearded Jim would spend days bragging on how much fun it was to shoot guns, ride four-wheelers, and catch-up with his buddies. Yet, what is most important to know is that he was loved and appreciated as a friend – his Camping Crew’s actions encouraged him to continue to love and appreciate those who he met in his next stage in life.

After spending time in Orlando, FL, Jim moved to Tallahassee, FL – Jim’s time in Tallahassee had two stages, his car days and his bank days, both referring to his chosen career. Jim’s move to Tallahassee was to continue his pursuit of a finance career in the auto industry with Hyundai and, subsequently, at Champion Chevrolet. This move to Tallahassee is where Jim eventually found his Miller Dog – for those that don’t know, Miller came with the house that Jim purchased as the owners could not take him. Miller became Jim’s inseparable companion. Also, in Tallahassee, Jim met his “Car Guys and Bar Guys” – a group of locals that Jim met through his experiences in the auto industry that went on to become his next group of friends and would often connect after work to unwind after stressful days. To all he met it was clear – Jim was talented beyond words and compassionate beyond reason. Through his actions, he forged his new friendships in his new home. Yet, what is most important to know is that he was loved and appreciated as a colleague, mentor, confidante, and friend – and accordingly - his Car Guys’ and Bar Guys’ actions encouraged him to continue to love and appreciate those who he met in his next stage in life.

Jim’s second stage in Tallahassee saw him move on from the auto sales industry and to working at Capital City Bank – leading their auto finance sales. To put it bluntly, Jim successfully transformed the bank’s auto finance portfolio by taking his firsthand knowledge from the other side of the business and applying it to his new role. And what subsequently came at this same time was a parallel transformation in Jim – an evolution that saw him pursue his new career, re-ignite his passion for flying, set his sights on traveling, and finding love. Over this time, Jim chased everything: new accomplishments at work, more hours in the cockpit, more experiences domestically and abroad, and more time with the women who he had asked to be his future wife and daughter, Hillary Haythorn and Kaitlyn Okleja, respectively. Jim’s new colleagues, Hillary, and Kaitlyn were significant to Jim’s second stage in Tallahassee: they helped Jim to find new passions and a family to love and call his own. During this time, Jim achieved all that was set in front of him and found his true love. What is most important to know is that he was loved and appreciated as a professional, pilot, traveler, and most importantly, future husband and father – and accordingly - his new colleagues’, Hillary’s, and Kaitlyn’s actions encouraged him to continue to love and appreciate those who he was set to meet in his next stage in life.

For those who knew Jim something notable came from the accumulation of love and appreciation – we saw a man who reached the pinnacle of happiness. And that happiness is a great place to begin reflecting on Jim’s impact, legacy, and standard for living that we are all so blessed to have witnessed and will have the opportunity to carry forward in our own lives.

Jim was talented – talented enough to have successfully played the role of son, brother, uncle, friend, colleague, mentor, confidante, professional, pilot, traveler, and future husband and father. In fact, his talents outweighed those of the 53 men called the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his beloved football team. It is important to relate Jim’s life to his love of football, because Jim treated his family, friends, dog, colleagues, and loved ones like he was playing in a personal Super Bowl every day – and he always wanted to win your MVP award. Unquestionably, Jim found a way to be everyone’s personal MVP through his love and appreciation for those close to him that was nurtured from an early age by his family.

Jim was committed – he fully committed himself to his everyone in his life, and always gave them 100%. He always spoke of being “committed like the pig” – an anecdote relating a pig’s sacrifice to breakfast. The anecdote goes that the pig sacrificed his life to become bacon or sausage, whereas the chicken only needed to sacrifice its eggs and was not “fully committed”. Jim always sacrificed himself to establish levels of camaraderie, trust, and love his relationships that cannot be matched. He ensured that anyone within his circle, new or old, felt his commitment. If you recollect for a moment, it’s easy to recall the first time you felt Jim’s commitment.

Jim was stubborn – stubborn to uphold his end of the love, appreciation, and commitment, and expected everyone else to step up, as well. And to be clear, we are not ignoring that Jim was also stubborn in an obstinate and argumentative way, too (you are certainly grinning because you remember that one time…); however, we will focus on the former, not the latter. His stubbornness was admirable – he was determined to ensure he held himself and those around him to the highest expectations.

Jim was happy – in fact, his happiness was because of us, all of us. Jim was energized by the people around him. Take a moment to realize, you helped power the machine and kept him going. Jim was never so happy as when his people were surrounding him. Further, in recent years, Jim found a new level of happy, only made possible by his future wife and daughter-to-be, Hillary and Kaitlyn. We all knew happy Jim, but they unlocked something new in Jim – a Jim who wanted to be a better version of great. And he was happy to do that.

All told this was James, Jimmy, Jim, Jimbo, Poo, or any other name you knew him by – our MVP, son, brother, uncle, friend, colleague, mentor, confidante, professional, pilot, traveler, and future husband and father. But stop for a moment, and reflect on how you can live like Jim every day, because it is what he would have wanted you to do:

- Be talented and accept the role that those around you need; learn to adapt to people. That’s what Jim did. - Be committed and give your 100% 100% of the time – you owe it yourself and your circle. That’s what Jim did. - Be stubborn. Don’t bend for convenience and don’t change your core values. That’s what Jim did. - Be happy and grateful for the people you have around you. Life is precious, too short, and never guaranteed – so leave it all on the field. That’s what Jim did.

Finally, relish in Jim’s last gift to all of us, one so befitting, it’s impossible to ignore. As you are all aware, Jim was invigorated by being surrounded by those he cared about and always enjoyed when those people celebrated him. To allow that tradition to last forever, Jim stole St. Patrick’s Day for himself and left it to us as a final gift. Remember each year, on March 17, you will no longer be able to celebrate St. Patrick – you will be celebrating our MVP, son, brother, uncle, friend, colleague, mentor, confidante, professional, pilot, traveler, and future husband and father – James Castas Philippou.

Jim, thank you for being you. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for being what we needed, when we needed it. Thank you for never giving up on us. We love you and miss you already – give Miller dog a hug.

~Composed by: Ray Vincent

Services

  • Celebration of Life Sunday, March 22, 2020

Memories

Jim Philippou

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Earl Campos

March 22, 2020

So I don't know Jim like many of you do. I met him briefly at my sister's wedding a few years ago.

Earlier this month he re-posted an article I wrote in the Tallahassee Democrat to his Facebook page. He liked the story, but didn't know me. My sister saw it and asked him why he posted "my face" on his newsfeed? It was a moment of laughter.

Sometimes a candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. My sincerest condolences to Jim's family. -Earl & Portia Campos

Helen Smyly-Mincey

March 22, 2020

Karla and family: So sorry for your loss.

Ashley Wittman

March 22, 2020

Ashley Wittman

March 22, 2020

Ashley Wittman

March 22, 2020

Ashley Wittman

March 22, 2020

Ashley Wittman

March 22, 2020

Jim was definitely one of a kind!! His personality has always been larger than life and his stubbornness unmatched. He is loved and will be missed by so many! I look forward to seeing you again someday. Love you, Jimbo!! Give MillerDog a big hug for me!

Hilary Katzen

March 22, 2020

Hilary Katzen

March 22, 2020

Jimbo. I still can’t believe this.
You impacted my life so much more than any regular friend. You encouraged me but also told me what I needed to hear. You mentored me but wouldn’t let up until I really got it. I’ll never forget the few days we spent at Zs after I started working at the dealership, practicing “the script”, back-and-forth, until it was really & truly engrained. You wouldn’t let my attention-span/memory get the best of me & while at the time we chuckled about it, I wish I could tell you how much it meant to me that you wouldn't give up. You saw my potential and I saw that in your actions. One of my favorite qualities of you were that you weren’t the mushy-lovey type of friend, but rather showed how much you cared through your actions, which holds so much more value to me.
You were truly a special & important friend in my life. Besides our many times where you taught me things about the car biz or taxes or life, I’ll also never forget our many cribbage games. Or our word games! You were the only one to ever match me! Admittedly, those were some of my favorite Tally times and I’ll continue to hold those memories very close and fondly to my heart.
I wish I told you how much you impacted my life, sooner. I was waiting to catch up over a good cribbage game!
However a part of me feels like you already knew how life-changing you were. Maybe it’s why you did it. You knew how amazing and great you are (for which it was very warranted) and liked to help your friends because you knew we would always remember those moments. You were so smart and dang- did I admire & appreciate that SO much about you.
It pains me so much that I can’t be there today, but I know you know I’m there in spirit, such as you are still and always will be present in our lives. You will live on in all of us. You’re not a force we will ever forget. I miss you and love you.
Give miller dog a big ole hug for us. Till next time, my friend.

Jeanne Turco

March 22, 2020

Looking at these pictures of Jim reminds me of the first time I met my little cousins, and it's hard to believe that Jim has slipped through our fingers and has gone on to be with God. I remember my mom and dad bragging about what wonderful kids Phil and Karla had, and they shared their drawings that would normally have gone on the fridge, but instead found frames that were put up in the dinning room and living room.

I loved to go and visit you all in Florida, and always had it on my list of things to do when I came to see you all. I'm so, so sorry to hear about the heart breaking news about Jim going home, but obviously, his mission was complete before we realized it was time for him to go.

I remember the first time I met Jim, he was about 11 years old, and I was playing with Laura and Johnny. We were singing songs and playing karaoke, and Jim told me I should be a professional singer....of course he was right. LOL!~ But he always had a way of making everyone laugh, and he was definitely charming in every way, just like the rest of his family whom I love and adore. I wish I could wrap my arms around you all and make the pain go away, but we just have to remember that we will see him again, and right now, he's on another journey where we will be seeing him soon.

When we look back on people like Jim, who we have been fortunate enough to love, it's always best to try to take the characteristics we loved most about them and make them our own. I personally love his sense of humor, his charismatic smile, and his confidence. He had a special kind of charm, and I especially love the sparkle in his eye when he was entertaining everyone around him, knowing in his heart how much we all adored him, like my dad would say, "There's no flies on him..." LOL.

I'm certain he is watching over you all, and my heart goes out to you all. Life is too short and sharing joy, happiness, and love is really what it's all about. Kisses. Jeanne, your favorite cousin.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY