• Phoenix Memorial Park and Mortuary
    Phoenix, AZ
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James Raphael Belhassen

James Raphael Belhassen

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July 06, 2015
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July 06, 2015
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November 30, 2013
For me, Uncle "Jimmy" came to being when I was quite small, visiting Aunt Nellie's home in Iowa. I don't recall it very well, but the memory is there. Next, I recall a visit to AZ, where we spent time at their home. We played with Robin and Uncle James was, most memorably, sitting in the kitchen, reading a newspaper and conversing with Aunt Betsy. A few years later, we moved to AZ and I got to know him much better.

He seemed to me to be a strong man and a strong-willed man. He saw things his way and was very certain of himself. I got to know him as a proud father and always a central part of the larger family. His presence at any family gathering was essential and he added a special flavor to our gatherings. When I brought my first real girlfriend over to a family gathering, Uncle James immediately made her feel like part of the family. I'll bet Elisa remembers him to this day, though we split up in the freshman year of college. And the memories of him teaching Susan and other family members how to dive into the pool and swim are still fresh.

Though he was never what anyone would consider an orthodox jew, he was what everyone would consider a devoted jew- it was in his heart and his very fabric.

Everything about him told you he was a tough man, but a loving man and family always came first. I guess if I had to say, he was an outstanding role model who led by example. Though I was not there near the end, I hear that, true to form, he continued to struggle to be strong/young and independent. I feel honored to be in the same family with Uncle James.
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