James V. “Jim” Pronesti (PAPA), always had a song to sing, a smile for all he met, and a caring nature that buoyed family and friends through crisis and heartbreak, and through joyous events. James Pronesti, native Elyrian, died Friday, May 10, 2013 at the Ohio Veterans Home, Sandusky, after a long illness. Pronesti was born February 25, 1919 and was a first generation Italian.
Jim, a well known lifelong Elyria resident, was a graduate of Elyria High School and was a World War II veteran, serving five years in the United States Army as a technical sergeant in the 20th Armored Division. A favorite family memory was “Uncle Jim’s” military service as a member of the U.S. Calvary. He regaled nieces and nephews with stories of his steed, Buckshot who accompanied him to the European theatre. One of his favorite stories was purchasing a saddle for Buckshot from actor, Paul Newman, who was working at that time at his father’s Newman Adler Sporting Goods store in Cleveland. He was also very proud of being part of the military forces that liberated the concentration camps in Europe.
When Jim Pronesti returned to Elyria, he joined U.S. Steel Lorain Works, where worked as a supervisor in the Seamless Rolling Mills. Pronesti was a well respected manager who always treated his workers fairly and always tried to bring the best out of each and every employee. When he retired, his many employees expressed their dismay that they were losing their beloved manager.
Pronesti was well read and was as comfortable talking with executives as with the front line employees in the mill. Along with reading, he loved sports. He was an avid baseball and softball player, having played with Warren Spahn as a part of his military baseball team. Jim was well known on the golf course, where he carried a three handicap and shot a hole in one in his 70′s at Cherry Ridge Golf Course.
The activity Pronesti loved the best was the special times with family. Each year he thrilled family and friends with his Christmas treasure chest. No one left the Pronesti home without a gift that was specially selected by Uncle Jim.
Pronesti was preceded in death by his wife, Rose (nee Barbatano); his parents, Salvatore and Maria (DeMaria) Pronesti; and his siblings, Frank Pronesti, Josephine Kaminski, Mary Gientkowski, Angela DiLuciano and Kathryn Gallo.
He is survived by his daughter, Marilyn (Lowell) Brumby of Elyria; grandsons, Eric Coven and Mark (Julie) Hawke; his brother, Joseph A. (Toni) Pronesti; four great grandchildren, Addison, Vincent, Brezlin, Gianna and many nieces and nephews.
Friends will be received at the Reichlin Roberts Funeral Home, 327 Cleveland St., Elyria, on Monday, May 13, 2013, from 4 to 8 P.M. Closing prayers will be in the funeral home on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 10:30 A.M. followed by Mass at 11 A.M., at St. Mary Church, 320 Middle Ave., Elyria. The Reverend Father Charles Diedrick, Pastor, will be the Celebrant. Burial, with full military honors provided by the VFW, Post 1079, will be in St. Mary Cemetery, Elyria.