James Walter Raitt

March 5, 1945December 1, 2012
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My Jimmy: my love, the light of my life, my best friend. My Jimmy: wise, loving, kind, generous. My Jimmy: humorous, loyal, intelligent, romantic yet practical, just as likely to bring me a tax statement as a bouquet of roses cut from the bushes in our yard.

We shared thirty-six years as man and wife, thirty-six years as lovers of the life we had, thirty-six years working together, planning together, dreaming together, scheming together, playing together. Thirty-six years as partners in this earthly journey enjoying every day of those thirty-six years because no matter what circumstances surrounded us, God gave us reasons to feel joy in each other and in all the little things we did day in and day out.

Jimmy had a wonderful childhood, growing up in Floral Park and East Williston, New York. His parents, Mollie and Perry were devoted to one another and devoted to giving their all for their children, Jimmy and Kathleen. From them, Jimmy learned the values of hard work, perseverance and caring for family above all. Jimmy, like Perry, spent long hours working in the entertainment industry yet always found the time to be there for a family member in need. This caring also extended to his many friends, whom he mentored, advised, encouraged. He was the proverbial friend in need.

Jimmy was a proud member of the United States Air Force and had awe and admiration for members of all the armed forces. In the Air Force, he developed a lifelong love of flying, both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Our daughter, Michelle, shares his love for flying and was a partner in many helicopter flights and his enthusiastic companion at air shows in California.

Jimmy excelled on the job as a motion picture property master and has an impressive list of credits which include, “All That Jazz”, “Moonstruck”, “Trading Places”, “Tootsie” and “The Rat Pack”. It was at the wrap party for the film, “All That Jazz”, that the director, Bob Fosse proclaimed, “Jimmy is the best property master I have ever worked with.”

Jimmy was also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and as a result, had some face time in many of the movies on which he worked as a property master. Perhaps the most notable was his role as “Ophelia’s Client” in the movie, “Trading Places”. His big scene comes about two-thirds of the way into the film when he knocks on the door of “Ophelia’s” apartment, bouquet of roses in hand saying, “It’s ten o’clock. Here’s Johnny!”

For the first sixteen years of our married life, we lived in New Jersey. We were in close proximity to my parents, sister Sue, cousins, aunts and uncles. Jimmy and my father became buddies in the truest sense of the word and shared many wonderful adventures. They had a unique relationship and loved one another. Our greatest joy came in 1981 when we adopted our daughter, Michelle. We also found great pleasure in caring for our first two Scottish Terriers, Bonnie and Heather.

The occasion of the first meeting of Jimmy and my father, “The Chief”, was quite remarkable, to say the least. Jimmy arrived at our house for our first date. My father, a deputy police chief and his brother, a member of the state police, greeted him at the front door and told him to go around the back. They led him into the living room, ordered him to sit on a chair in the middle of the room and began interrogating him. As if this weren’t enough, a few days later, my father took Jimmy to the city lock-up and had him photographed. His mug shot is among the photos in this program.

If ever I had a shred of doubt, it evaporated on our first date. I knew, then and there, on that night, in October, 1974, in my living room, that he would be my husband, the man with whom I would go through life.

What many friends and family remember most about Jimmy is his great sense of humor, sometimes self-deprecating. He had a way with words, a twinkle in his eye and was not shy about sharing an anecdote, a one-liner or run-on joke, which he embellished with personal details depending on the person whom he was addressing. He made me laugh many times through my tears and kept my spirits up when we were going through trials and tribulations.

We moved to California in 1992. Jimmy worked hard, sending our resumes, making contacts with production companies and finally landing his first West Coast job as a property master for the film, “Lost in Yonkers”. He retired in 1999 and began living the life of “Lord of the Manor”. He spent quality time with our Scottish Terriers, Penny and Beacon, met a new group of friends, including Bernie Lavin and Don Bowers and set up shop in the local Starbuck’s in Barnes and Noble.

My retirement came three years later. These retirement years were spent doing what we most enjoyed doing: being together and partaking in the simple pleasures of life. Part of that time was spent caring for our new Scotties, Abigail and Copper Penny, taking road trips to meet our cousins, Kathy and Bill in San Luis Obispo, meeting up with Peter and Megan at the Hollywood Bowl or going to the Cheesecake Factory for our monthly dinner date.

Jimmy loved life, loved his life with his family and friends and will forever be the love of my life. Rest in peace my “Top Dog” and know that your “Spot” was grateful for every minute of every hour of every day that we spent together.

Donations may be made, in Jimmy’s honor, to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Humane Society.


  • Viewing Friday, December 7, 2012
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James Walter Raitt

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Pamela Majeski Beelitz

February 7, 2015

I did not know Mr. Raitt, but I believe I know his wife, Joan. She was my French teacher in high school and she instilled in me a love for French that I have never lost. I will keep her in my prayers, as I'm sure her husband was as wonderful a person as she is. You are my favorite teacher of all time Miss Polizzo!

Michelle and Skylar Raitt

December 1, 2014

Dad a lot has changed in the past 2 years, I'm finally with a great guy who reminds me of you, you now have a grand daughter named Skylar Joan which mom came up with. Skylar was born Nov 10th at 8:31 pm and weighed 7lbs 6oz and 19 in long. She is the most precious little girl and has such a huge personality already . I'm sure you are looking down at us and can watch her grow. She will always know what a great man her grandpa is. We love you and miss you dearly and know that you are always here love Michelle and Skylar Joan

Joan Raitt

December 1, 2014

My Dearest Jimmy,

I'm writing this to you on the second anniversary of your passing. I keep asking myself, "Have I really lived two years without you?" Before that fateful day I hadn't been without you for more than two months and those months seemed an eternity. And now I face an eternity on earth without you.

I thank God that He made be strong because without that strength I could not have faced even another day without you, let alone the remainder of my years on this earth.

I've remained focused and decisive and fulfilled your most ardent wish for me: to move back to NJ to be closer to family. It wasn't easy. In fact, it was harder than I could have ever imagined. But it was the best move for me.

My life is OK and I enjoy some happy
times. It will never seem right, though, because right always meant growing old together. Right meant sharing those ordinary rituals of our day to day lives. Right meant laughing together at all the silly things that always made us laugh.

So, it can't be right. It can be good at times but never right.

In my eulogy for your memorial services I said: "There won't be one minute of one hour of one day that I won't miss you." That is true now and will forever be true. There isn't one night that I don't picture your face as I drift off to sleep and there isn't one morning that awaken without seeing that handsome face and hearing your laughter. Your face, your name, your voice fill the biggest space in my heart.

I've often asked myself what I would have said to you on our last day had I but known that it ould be our last day. I would have told you how much I loved you and how much I always will love you. I would have told you how grateful I was that you loved me, how lucky I was that we met, that we shared thirty-eight years and that you were the best part of me and that I would never feel whole without you.

I would have also reassured you that I would stay strong, that I would take care of myself and that I would surround myself with good people. That would have made you happy because my happiness and well-being were always important to you.

Two years without you. How many years until we are together again? God alone knows. Until then, you remain my Jim, my "Little Boy", my "Top Dog", my best friend and the love of my life.

Always and ever,
Your Joanie, "you "Little Girl", your "Spot".

Brian Marston

April 26, 2014

What can I say about Jimmy Raitt? I met Jimmy after being contacted by he and Joanie when selling there home on Urban Club Road in Wayne, NJ. I had graduated from Wayne Hills in 1989 and although never having Joanie as a teacher, I always knew who she was and was left in awe by her enthusiasm and energy. Jimmy and Joanie trusted me as a very young Realtor when few others felt I had the ability to properly market their home while they packed up and headed to Westlake Village. Jimmy never lost faith in me despite it being a tough market and always pushed me to work harder and smarter. For both of your trust, I am eternally grateful and am still a Realtor 25 years later. Whenever I drive by Urban Club Road, I always think of you both and Michelle. I have relocated to Charlotte, NC but was in Wayne today and found myself thinking of you all. I did. google search to see what would come up and am deeply upset to hear of Jimmy's passing. Words can not say how truly sorry I am to find this out!!! God speed my friend and may God Bless Joanie and Michelle this day and always!

November 24, 2013

Jim is missed.

November 17, 2013

Your sentiments are so beautiful in the recalling of yours and Jimmy's life together. He is there and will always be your Jimmy. God Bless You dear cousin. Keep swinging on that star.

Joan Raitt

November 11, 2013

December 1, 2013

My Jim,

One year, twelve months, fifty-two weeks, three hundred and sixty-five days have passed since that worst of all possible days when I found your lifeless body. How can it be that I am still here, that I have lived this year without you, my love, my life, my partner in good times and bad, my best friend? How can it be that the sun rose and set each of those three hundred and sixty-five days? How can it be that I will never again see your face, hear your voice, feel your touch again? How can it be that we can never again enjoy a favorite meal, plan for the future, dream of good times to come?
How can it be?

You left an indelible mark on all who knew you. You were loved, admired and respected more tha you could have possibly known. So many good friends turned out for your first memorial service, so dignified, complete with military honors. So many longtime friends and family were there to honor you at your second memorial service in Jersey. Imagine that: two memorial services. Very fitting for the "larger than life" kind of guy that you were.

This past year has brought changes, always accompanied by a wide range of emotions: profound grief, uncertainty, stress and even some happy moments. By my side through it all were the Levs. They were there for me on that darkest of days and throughout the year. I could not have asked for a more loving family.

Our "Mooch" has been sweet and considerate and helped me so much in those early days of my journey of grief. She is now working hard to accomplish a very worthwhile career goal. It would make you proud to see her achivements.

God has so richly blessed me with the special people that he has put into my life from our California friends to our Jersey family and friends. They have been there for me in countless ways. I am so grateful for this amazing group of people who will always be a wonderful part of my life.

It now seems likely that your wish for me to go back to NJ will be fulfilled. I know that this will be for the best yet it won't be easy to bid farewell to the people and places that were woven into the fabric our our California life. It won't be easy to leave this "Golden State" which was the stuff our dreams were made of twenty-two years ago. It won't be easy to walk out the door of our "Kingsboro" estate where we lived, laughed, and loved throughout our last years together. But nothing about this past year has been easy.

I pray to God to grant me wisdom, discernment and clarity as I move forward with my life. I trust that He will direct my path, that He will continue to give me the will to go on, to live a good life, a full life, a life with meaning and purpose.

One year, twelve months, fifty-two weeks, three hundred and sixty-five days without you. Yet I draw breath, I eat, I sleep,I dream, I care for our girls, our adorable "kids", Abigail and Penny. I go through all those little rituals that make up a lifetime and I look to the future which, while not as joy filled as it would have been with you, will hold happy moments and most of all, treasured memories of you, my Jim, my Little Boy, my Top Dog.

Love to you now and forever,
Your Joanie, your Little Girl, your Spot.

Vera Slawnitsch

October 13, 2013

Dearest Joan,

You were my Spanish teacher at Wayne Hills Senior High in 1979/1980. I was curious to learn about you so I started searching on the internet for you earlier this afternoon. I am so sorry to have stumbled upon this information regarding your beloved husband but so happy to hear that you had such a beautiful life together! Sadly, I had to move away from Wayne at the onset of my junior year to live with family members in South Florida. Thanks to you and Mr. Cleary, I was able to hold my own in Miami speaking the Spanish language. I remember your inner and outer beauty and how you were the epitome of STYLE, a real class act! Wishing you all the best!

Vera Slawnitsch (aka Berta)

Kathy Melia

December 20, 2012

I'm so sorry for your loss of your Jimmy. It's hard to know what to say, except that I'm thinking of you in friendship and in sympathy. I will forever remember his Friday afternoon calls to make sure we were treating his “ girl” well and that we got the goodies he sent. He was always joking about how it was a great ordeal for him to heat up dinner so it would be read when you got home. He was so worried he could not follow your directions correctly... did you want the foil on or off? He was not even sure he could turn the oven on! The only thing he was serious about was that we were not overworking his girl and treating her right. Much love to you and God Bess you and Michelle.

Dennis Fett

December 9, 2012

I would like to express my sincere condolences to you and family on the loss of your husband. I just learned of your loss yesterday afternoon from my sister Barbara Blacow.

I pray that God comforts you and your family during this time. and you'll receive God's love and peace during this time of loss.

Dennis Fett, formerly of Paterson, New Jersey. Now living in Iowa on our Peacock Farm,