James "J.J." Sunseri
FUNERAL HOME
Linnemann Funeral Home - Erlanger
30 Commonwealth Ave
Erlanger, KY
James "J.J." Sunseri, 70, of Erlanger, Ky., born as Tito Libero Cavanti in Ascoli Piceno, Italy on May 4, 1950, passed away on January 2, 2021 from injuries sustained in an auto accident on December 13, 2020.

J.J. was adopted in the United States when he was thirteen by Joseph and Dorie (Osinski) Sunseri of Erie, Pa., who are preceded in death.

He was a graduate of Erie Cathedral Prep High School in 1968. After high school he spent a year at Penn State Behrend Campus where he found his passion for horses. J.J. spent his adult life as a professional jockey with more than ten thousand thoroughbred mounts over 45 years. He has raced in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana and Florida. He also appeared in the movie "Dreamer" as the stunt jockey. J.J. received numerous awards including a Kentucky State Senate citation for his professional dedication. He was also a member of the Florence Elk Lodge #314 for 17 years serving in several capacities including chaplain. He was a great Storyteller! and dancer. He never forgot a birthday or special occasion for anyone in his huge extended family. He was always sending cards with underlines on the meanings he wished to emphasize. His love for his cousins and their children went beyond happiness. Mr. Santa is what he was! He gave love and smiles for all who knew him.

He is survived by his "Lady" Judith Costigan of Cincinnati, Ohio, an uncle and many aunts and cousins.

A memorial visitation will be held Saturday, February 6, 2021 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with funeral services to follow at Linnemann Funeral Homes in Erlanger, Ky. Memorial contributions can be made Elks Lodge #314 "Christmas Giving Tree In Memory of J.J.," 7704 Dixie Hwy., Florence, KY 41042. Online condolences can be made at www.linnemannfuneralhomes.com.

Sign the Guestbook at www.GoErie.com/obits.



Published by Erie Times-News on Jan. 30, 2021.
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Feb
6
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1:00p.m. - 3:00p.m.
Linnemann Funeral Home - Erlanger
30 Commonwealth Ave, Erlanger, KY
Feb
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Linnemann Funeral Home - Erlanger
30 Commonwealth Ave, Erlanger, KY
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19 Entries
I remember Jim from our days racing in Chicago. I was the clerk of scales and Jim used to ride at the Chicago area racetracks. Although he never had the opportunities to ride for some larger stables he always rode hard and would always be there to help. If there was an instance when we needed someone to ride a longshot who may not have had a chance to win Jim was always there to volunteer. One thing I recall is that no matter how bad he may have been doing on the track he always had a smile on his face. Never said a bad thing about anyone.
Rest in peace my friend!
Gary Duch
Friend
February 9, 2021
RIP MY FRIEND, MAY YOUR HEAVEN BE FILLED WITH HORSES....LOVE JOE AND PAM KARAUS
JOE KARAUS
Friend
February 7, 2021
JOE KARAUS
Friend
February 6, 2021
Sad to hear of Jimmy’s passing. One of those people you cross paths with in life that leave you with lasting impressions of goodness. Jimmy, as we knew him back then, and I were close friends during high school and at Penn State. Was a good wrestler at Behrend with his other buddy Bill Groner. Many 5mile trips together on Friday and Saturday nights across the PA border to the NY State Bars that allowed us to drink at the age of 18. He was a great dancer and conversationalist and always attracted the young women to our table. Early life was difficult for him but he adjusted quickly to his new country and his outgoing personality allowed him to make many friends. He lived the American Dream. Lost track as we both left the Erie area to follow our dreams and earn a reasonable leaving. Glad to see that he pursued his passion and though shortened, lived a good, exciting and fulfilling life while reaching down and helping up those in need. Thank you Jimmy for being a great friend that always had my back. Rest In Peace.
Ken George
Friend
February 2, 2021
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Larry/Nanci L
Friend
February 1, 2021
We are saddened but pleasant, beautiful memories of JJ that go back many years will sustain us. I'm placing those memories into the hole in my heart now. JJ was such a good, special and wonderful man who blessed the world with happiness and meant so much to us. His calls, cards and gatherings will surely be missed. When I think of JJ's smile, it reminds me of all the great times we shared. I'm truly blessed to have known him.
James' family and Judith: You are in my prayers as you take comfort in the fact that JJ was well loved.
"Good people will be remembered as a blessing..." - Proverbs 10:7
Mrs N G LaGue
Friend
February 1, 2021
Paul Gambill...Prep classmate...great classmate ...wrestler
and a fun guy
Paul Gambill
Classmate
February 1, 2021
Cathedral Prep class of 1968 P
February 1, 2021
Jimmy was a great classmate from our high school days...we used to talk when he would cone up to race at the old Commodore Downs...his Obit speaks of the same Guy I knew....RIP my brother Paul Gambill
Paul Gambill
Classmate
February 1, 2021
I knew Jimmy as that guy with an infectious smile and undefeatable positive outlook. After college I lost track of him but was happy to hear he had a successful career as a jockey while sharing his sunny disposition with new friends he made in Kentucky. RIP Jimmy.
Dennis Cook
Classmate
January 31, 2021
ALWAYS SMILING, joyful, thankful, grateful, RIP, J.J.
L L LaGue
Coworker
January 31, 2021
RIP, J J - You'll remain in our hearts forever LLL
January 31, 2021
J.J. was my friend since the 1980s when we rode at Balmoral. He was polite, classy, and had a great personality. Our "Room Rider" @ several tracks, he had guts beyond belief. He was good to children and always put others first. A great lap swimmer and dancer, he was a man of many gifts and talents. We enjoyed Preakness 2020 together, celebrated my birthday together last year, and he brought me deer whistles for my car on Thanksgiving Day, 2020. As he drove away waving with his great big smile, I thought to myself how fortunate I was to have such a long-time faithful sincere friend. He was gone like the wind. Deepest sympathy and prayers to his entire family and circle of friends, along with his dear sweetheart Judith.
Larry L La Gue
Friend
January 31, 2021
J.J.'s enthusiasm as "Room Rider" was the ultimate tribute to our sport! His absence will be felt at Coney's pool, Moonlite Gardens and our course, at various race courses and his beloved Elk's Club. His contagious smile, positive attitude, selflessness & influence, along with his joy from giving + helping others, will remain with me and impact me always.
Jockey Larry
Friend
January 31, 2021
Sincere condolences to all Family and friends..

Haven't seen Jim in more than 50 years, but certainly remember him as our wrestling teammate at Prep.. a good person that all liked..
What a great story ...anyone who did what he did racing thoroughbreds gets my wrestling letter!
Congrats Jim and ride on....


HWhat a great story and a ride that he had.
Mark Hedges
January 31, 2021
Jimmy was a great guy and a very uplifting person to be around. He could always put a smile on your face. He always gave 100% in everything he did. He was truly one of a kind. I haven’t seen him since he left Erie but I was proud to call him friend, schoolmate and team mate. RIP Jimmy!
Chuck Kast
Classmate
January 31, 2021
J. J. Always had a smile on his face. My fondest memory of him was his dedication to the Elks Kids with Cancer yearly event. He loved being an instrumental part helping children with Cancer get a chance to be a kid again at a special camp designed for them. He will be greatly missed. May He Rest In Peace
Glenna long
Friend
January 30, 2021
James was a classmate. Always positive and energetic. Did not do particularly well at wrestling or cross country. BUT. Earned his living as a professional athlete for FORTY FIVE years in probably the world's most dangerous sport. Horse racing. A short man with a heart as big as creation. Remarkable life.
Jeff Trombacco
Classmate
January 30, 2021
He will never be forgotten at the Elks lodge Tuesday auxiliary dinners. He was the life of the big table with all his friends. And never forget his penchant for desserts....his doggie bag was sweets....we will miss you JJ.
ROBERT KLOSS
Friend
January 30, 2021
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