James P. Papacena

February 19, 1957April 30, 2021

James known by his family as Jimmy and his friends and colleagues as Big JIm, left this world too soon leaving us with our hearts broken.

Jim was preceded in death by his beloved parents James and Alice Papacena who raised him in the Bronx where he spoke about his wonderful childhood memories growing up with his sisters, Susan and Judi. He learned his love of boats and being on the water from hours spent with his dad water skiing on City Island. His love for all things Christmas came from his mom who always made the holiday special for the family. Jim loved fast cars both working on them and driving them which made his parents crazy. His son Jimmy inherited that gene. Jim's music tastes ran from the Big Bands and Frank Sinatra to Disco and Jazz. He always had music on in his car or in the house. Jim is a graduate of Salesian H.S. in New Rochelle. Early in his career, Jim worked in banking and had other corporate jobs before starting his own construction company. At the time of his death, Jim was semi-retired from his own company JP Contracting. He would design and build homes and fix anything you handed him. As his mom would say "he had gold in his hands". Jim is survived by the two most important people in his life, his children, James John Papacena (Liza) and Ashley Elise Terrelonge (Chris). Being their dad gave him his greatest joy and he was proud of them and who they had become. He was blessed to have lived long enough to see them both successful and happily married and gave him three beautiful granddaughters - Carissa, Emmy and Riley. Now his new name was Pop Pop and they could not get enough of each other. He knew his fourth grandchild would join big sister Riley sometime in October. We will make sure they know all about their Pop Pop and how much he loved them. He is also survived by Marie Galante who he called his best friend and the person who he wanted to grow old with. Together she helped him raise Jimmie and Ashley and enjoy their grandchildren. Jimmie's two sisters and their families also survived him. Susan L. Mark (William Jr.), Judith L DeBlasio (John) as well as his beloved nieces and nephews, Tracey, Billy, Matt & Amanda and his great nieces and nephew Taylor, Grayson, Corinne, Everett, Leah and Zoey. Jim was a proud patriot. At 6'6'' Jim was an imposing man but anyone who knew him will tell you he had a heart of gold, and would do anything for you. He is missed and still needed by his family and friends.

Funeral Mass and celebration of life will be celebrated in St. Anthony's Church on Wednesday May 12th at 10am. Inurnment will follow at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude's Leukemia Lymphoma Society and or Tunnel to Towers Foundation in Jim's honor.


12 May

Memorial Mass

10:00 am - 10:45 am

St. Anthony's Church

Corner of Nepperhan Ave. & Squire Ave.
Yonkers, New York

12 May


11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Ferncliff Cemetery

280 Secor Rd
Hartsdale, New York 10530


James P. Papacena

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jennifer Francica

May 5, 2021

There are no words that can express the sadness Big Jim’s passing has left. He was an amazing person, a caring person and a kind soul. He touched the lives of so many. His smile was infectious. He loved his family SO very much. I feel blessed to have gained him as part of our lives through my sister. Victoria adored him. She liked to call him Grandpa Jim. He may be gone but he will never be forgotten.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of all the faithful departed,
Through the mercy of God, Rest In Peace.

Maggie Adler

May 4, 2021

A beautifully written obituary. I worked with Jim and Marie and thought they both were the most wonderful people. I will miss Big Jim’s laugh and sense of humor. May he rest in piece. He will be missed by so many.

Geri Quinones

May 4, 2021

I worked with Big Jim for a short but very memorable time and am so very sorry he has passed. My condolences and prayers go to Marie Galante, with whom I also worked, and his family. His passing will leave a gigantic hole in many hearts. Rest in Peace, Big Jim!

Lynn Ann Reyes

May 3, 2021

I knew Jimmy since I was 7 years old an he was 8 years old . He told his mom the most beautiful girl just moved in the building. He
always did the kindest most thoughtful things. For example he came to my 6th grade graduation
and saved all his allowance to buy me a beautiful locket with my initials on it. He then said I
will come to all of your graduations. He did and bought me flowers. As we grew up after high school Jimmy moved away.
He came around for awhile and then we lost contact.

It was 2016 when I left a message on Facebook and hoped we could become friends again. He finally called me one night and we continued to talk and text up until the beginning of April.

Jimmy I will always remember how kind, caring and lovable you were. I will miss you so much. You will always be forever in my heart. Rest In Peace sweetie as he always called me. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️🙏🙏

Diane Vasso

May 3, 2021

I have known Jim since I was 4 years old. We were in the same class throughout grade school. Jim took me in his boat when we were in high school. Life takes over and we went our separate ways. Facebook brought us together again. He was forever be a gentle giant.🙏❤️