Allentown, PA 18104 5618
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James Kiernan Obituary
James V. Kiernan
James Jim V. Kiernan, 92, longtime Jacksonville resident and former Marine, passed away on November 19, 2012, in Allentown, PA. Born in Queens, NY, on December 13, 1919, Jim relocated to North Carolina with his wife, Evelyn, in the early 1940s during World War II. The young couples first stop in the area was Atlantic, Cartaret Co., the site of a Marine Corps air station and training facility during the War. Their house was little more than a storage shed, and Jim often recounted his shock at the heat, humidity and terrifyingly large mosquitoes that sent him sprinting the distance from house to car each morning. In 1944 they settled in Jacksonville, their home for the next six decades. Jim and Evelyn founded their family business, first named The Suzal Florist and later Flowers By Kiernan. Jim was discharged from the Marines as a Gunnery Sergeant in 1954 serving during WWII and the Korean War. A devout Catholic of Irish and Italian heritage, Jim was instrumental in establishing the Church in southeastern North Carolina and frequently offered his familys home (and couch) to the young missionary clergymen who roamed the state in the 1950s and 60s. Priests like Father John Paul Byron, Father Vincent Mahoney and Father John Harper became some of the familys closest friends, and Jim and Evelyns modest house on River Road served as an informal rectory for Jacksonvilles nascent Catholic community. A relatively quiet homebody next to his gregarious wife, Jim still managed to find his place in Jacksonville life, participating in the Knights of Columbus and serving as president of the Chamber of Commerce. He spoke with a thick New York accent that decades of living in the South failed to erode, and he had a dry sense of humor that was often betrayed by a winking eye. Family members recall Jims belief in social justice and equality, which led him to raise colorblind children in Jacksonville during an era marred by deep racism. He was honest to the point of naivete and occasionally fell prey to the unscrupulous, being more inclined to help those who didnt need it than to refuse help to those who did. Grandchildren vividly remember Jims fondness for all animals great and small, wild or domesticated. His house was the kingdom of well-fed dogs and cats; obese squirrels and pigeons reclined on the fence in the front yard while bread bags draped from the cypress trees out back like Spanish moss, left there by a family of raccoons that Jim had taken to feeding. Grandsons who chased and caught green lizards on the patio were watched like a hawk, lest they harm the creatures. His love and deep respect for animals and the treatment of animals continues on with his own children and grandchildren to this day. Jim and Evelyn (passed in 2006) finally left Jacksonville in 2005, moving to Allentown with their daughter, Laurie, who assumed care-taking responsibilities. Leaving the care-giving of Rhonda in Jacksonville, NC, we were blessed to have found Tina, his care-giver in Allentown. With his son-in-law, Dan and with Tinas unending love, care, and support, our father, Jim lived a wonderful life. To us, his family, almost 93 years of Dad was not enough time for such a generous heart! Our parents doors were always open and all were welcomed in! Survivors: Daughters, Suzie loving wife of Len of Jacksonville, FL, Marianne Vallance wife of Charles of Indian Harbour Beach, FL, Laurie Boracchia Wuchter wife of Daniel Wuchter, Sr. of Allentown, PA; sons, Michael husband of Cindy of Raleigh, NC, James (Patrick) husband of Tamara of Siler City, NC; grandchildren, Sean, Susan, Catherine, Paul, Anna, Eddie, Patrick, Austin, Caleb, Olivia, Micka, Madison, Samuel, Ashley and Isabella; four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his grandson, Peter V. Kiernan Spengler, who passed in 2005. Services: A private memorial service will be given at Jacksonvilles Infant of Prague Catholic Parish on November 28, at 11 a.m., with the funeral to follow at 12:45 p.m. at St. Mildred Catholic Church, 653 Old Hammock Rd., Swansboro, NC. Arrangements by Robert C. Weir Funeral Home, Allentown, PA [610] 433-7936. Contributions: Mountain View Horse Rescue, 4508 Winding Rd., New Tripoli, PA 18066 or Cathedral St. Catherine of Siena, 1825 Turner St., Allentown, PA 18104.
Published in Morning Call on Nov. 24, 2012
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