Celentano Funeral Home
424 Elm Street
New Haven, CT 06511
PERILLO, JAMES EDWARD James Edward Perillo, 71, devoted husband, loving father, joyful Papa, and loyal friend died on Aug. 18, 2014 in his home in New Haven. He was surrounded by the compassion, humor and comfort of his family. He was the beloved husband of Eileen McCarthy Perillo. Born in New Haven on May 31, 1943, he was the son of the late Dominick and Martha Cusano Perillo. Jim graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a degree in mathematics. He also received a Master’s Degree from New York University. Jim began his career as a teacher of mathematics and a Guidance Counselor at West Haven High School. It was here he met his wife, Eileen. The newlywed couple’s romance blossomed as they enjoyed four years of teaching together and chaperoning numerous high school proms. During his seventeen -year tenure at West Haven High School, he channeled his love of basketball and athletic prowess, as the Boy’s Varsity Basketball Coach, which he coached for 8 seasons. In 1978 Jim was appointed as a Commissioner to the New Haven Coliseum Authority, which led to his position as Executive Director of the New Haven Coliseum, a position he held for seventeen years. This allowed Jim’s children to explore a backyard filled with ice skating, elephants and a memorable Billy Joel concert, which occurred during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Fueled by his genuine devotion to education and his students, Jim returned to teaching in 2000. Jim was an inspirational and effective classroom teacher. The final ten years of his career were spent teaching mathematics at Guilford High School, where he retired in 2010. The love for his family and friends was not outdone by his allegiance to his city, the Elm City. It was this allegiance that led Jim to politics. He served three terms as a Democratic Alderman to the Seventh Ward “The Hill”, where he held the position of Majority Leader. In 1989 he entered the primary for Mayor, where his candid and sincere demeanor earned him the name “Gentleman Jim.” His tactics of thoughtfulness and decency gained him much support as a serious mayoral candidate. Jim’s appointment to the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven in 2007 was the culmination of his love for his community and for education. He served as the Chairman of the Education Committee and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. Despite his recent battle with cancer, he soldiered on by bringing his iPad and sense of humor to treatments, and maintained his passion for the mission of the Foundation. A well balanced life is not defined by the jobs and responsibilities you hold, but by the things that make you happy. For Jim, it was the simple things in life that made him happiest. Whether it was enjoying the World Cup while sampling craft beers with his daughter, or cheering on the New York Yankees and New York Giants while enjoying a Miller Lite with his two sons, this was further evidence of his sense of humor and perspective on life. You could also find Jim, especially since his retirement, in his garage finishing his latest woodworking project, be it a table, a hutch, or a cradle for his five granddaughters. Besides his wife of 45 years, Jim is survived by two sons, Chris and wife Sarah, of Simsbury, Darren and wife Emily, of Guilford, and daughter Beth of Brooklyn, New York. He is also survived by his brother Frank and wife Martha of Stratford, and one sister Josephine (Jay) and husband Robert Reilly of North Haven. Proud Papa to five, beautiful girls: Parker Eileen, Cameron Anne, Shay Elizabeth, Sawyer Eliza, and Quinn Alice. They will miss him reading books, pushing them on the swings, and cheering, “Oooooohhhh Baby!” Jim also leaves behind many in-laws, nieces, nephews, family and friends, too numerous to list but not forgotten. Friends may call at The Celentano Funeral Home, 424 Elm St. (cor. Dwight) New Haven Wednesday from 4 to 8 pm and are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Aedan’s Church, 112 Fountain St., New Haven Thursday morning at 10:00. Interment will follow in St. Lawrence Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, 70 Audubon St., New Haven, CT. 06510 to continue Jim’s commitment to education and scholarships. To leave messages of condolence, please visit www.celentanofuneralhome.com
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by The New Haven Register from Aug. 18 to Aug. 19, 2014.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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38 Entries
Jim was truly special to me and so many, one of the best people you could ever have the honor and pleasure to know. We are so lucky to have had him in our lives, as a teacher, a colleague, and a friend. Thank you to Jim for making our world a better place to live in...and thank you for sharing him with all of us.

With love,
Basia Tokarska and George Cooksey
Basia Tokarska
August 29, 2014

Eileen and Family,
My sincerest sympathy for your loss. I will remember Jim with found thoughts. He was always a gentleman and a scholar.
Gerry Frumento
August 25, 2014
Eileen & family
My deepest sympathy to you all.
From our days growing up on the Hill and our 4 yrs at Notre Dame Jim was always such a pleasure and un to be with. He will be deeply missed
Ed Coppola
August 24, 2014
Eileen, Beth adn family,

Alice just called from Miane with the sad news. Jim was such a warm, decent family man. I remember seeing the two of you at a cross girl's soccer game, and being struck by how you exuded such yourth and roamntic energy after so many years together -- like ageless teenage sweethearts with such positive energy. I am sure that continued til the end. Cathy and I send our deepest condolences.
Ken Rosenthal
August 23, 2014
Eileen and family,
My deepest sympathy to you all. Jim was my guidance counsellor and later hired me to work for him at the NHC. He gave me my start in the business that would become my career, and all the great experiences that go with it. Jim had a great impact on me and so many others I know. I was blessed to have him in my life.
Lynn Carlotto
August 22, 2014
My condolences go out to Jim's family. Mr. Perillo always treated the kids in the community like his own. He helped me get a great college job at the Providence Civic Center and later helped at the New Haven Coliseum during college breaks. You will be deeply missed.
Charlie Spiegel
August 22, 2014
I am saddened by the loss of this great teacher and lovely individual... He was the kind of man who you wish you had more time with, from even just a casual encounter. I will remember him fondly-- there is no one who knew him who would do otherwise. My sympathies.
Andrew Taylor
August 22, 2014
I am so sorry for your loss. Jim was a great man to work with. He always made me laugh. Thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Amy Lorenze DeMarseilles
August 22, 2014
I had Mr. Perillo my sophomore year (2003-04) and have never forgotten him or his sense of humor. He will surely be missed.
Kim Scroggins
August 21, 2014
What a wonderful service. Aunt Eileen, stay strong for yourself and your family. I love you Uncle Jimmy, you'll be in my heart forever. Rest in Peace.
Samantha Bloch
August 21, 2014
Jim's legacy of friends and family will ensure that his memory is a blessing. His servant leadership set a standard for the many lives he impacted. My deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences.
Lindy Lee Gold
August 21, 2014
I had Mr. Perillo for 9th grade geometry at Guilford High School in 2009. I will never forget him, or that class. Mr. Perillo's sense of humor made everyone excited to go to his class, even if math wasn't your best subject. As I pursue my own degree in education, I can only strive to be as great of a teacher as he was.
Colleen Burkle
August 21, 2014
Mr. Perillo was a motivating and inspiring teacher, he will be greatly missed.
August 20, 2014
it is with heartfelt sympathy that we extend our condolences to all your family.
john and frani gordon
August 20, 2014
We are so sorry for your loss. We know he was a very special dad, papa, and husband. Thinking of you all. The Girard Family
August 20, 2014
We are all better people because of the roles Jim played in our family. Be it Husband, Father, Brother, Grandfather, Uncle, Great Uncle, Cousin or in-law. We are all proud to be related to him and thankful for the memories he has blessed us with. He is so greatly loved and will truly be missed. May he rest peacefully in the arms of his Mom and Dad,until we meet again.
Robin Dextradeur
August 20, 2014
Take comfort in knowing that now you have a special guardian angel to watch over you.
Carol Della Camera
August 20, 2014
Robin Dextradeur
August 20, 2014
So very sorry to hear of Jimmy's passing. We were classmates at Sacred Heart Grammar School. For many years I wondered how he was doing and where he was and then at one of the Hill Reunion I met up with him. What a great surprise. He was so warm and friendly. We talked about growing up in our neighborhood and laughed a lot. Such a nice guy. My prayers are with his family.
Caryl Sue Johnsoon
August 20, 2014
This is very sad to hear for all of us who had the opportunity to work for Jim at the New Haven Coliseum. He gave me my first job in the arena business and I continue that career 27 years later. Jim was a great boss, mentor and teacher. My greatest moment with Jim was the day I beat him 3 out 3 games in racquetball. He was a fierce competitor. My lasting memory of Jim was his laugh. Something I can hear in my head today as I think of him. RIP my friend. Prayers to Eileen, Beth, Chris and Darren and all your families.
Dave Olsen
August 20, 2014
My deepest condolences go out to the Perillo family. Mrs. Perillo , Darren, Chris and Beth my thoughts are with you all. He was an amazing kind hearted man that alway made me feel comfortable and at home when I would visit. May you find peace and comfort in all your memories and may your tears soon turn to laughter when remembering him.
With sympathy,
Nicole Blazek
August 20, 2014
Mr. Perillo is one of the teachers who actually cared. His guidance is something I have carried with me for many years. When I graduated high school, I remember seeing him at the coliseum and he would never forget who I was. Great man. I'm proud to have known him and I'm a better person for it. Wayne Barron "WHHS Class of 1978" May he rest in peace.
Wayne Barron
August 20, 2014
Eileen, My concloens to and the family. I work for Mr. P at the coliseum for 16 years,he always try to teach me new things ( like how to use the compute, I gave him a run for his time). Mr P was a good person. May he RIP.
Ann Paluzzi
August 19, 2014
Jim was a wonderful person, he was my guidance counselor and friend for 4 years while in WHHS, and many years after graduation. He spoke dearly of his family. He always had a smile, he will be missed. Class of 77
Laura Mulligan
August 19, 2014
We send our heartfelt condolences to Jim's family..Jim was our classmate from Sacred Heart Grammar School class of 1957. May he rest in peace. Antoinette Onofrio Russo, Nancy Mulligan Johnson, Nancy Toplinsky Lemeaux, Sharon Grannis Butler
Antoinette Russo
August 19, 2014
Only knowing from what I have just read about Mr. James Perillo, he sounded to be an outstanding husband, father and friend - but must importantly, a "Papa" to all. My sincerest condolences to all the family and my friends Sarah and Emily Perillo - my thoughts and prayers will be with you.
Robin Towle-Fecso
August 19, 2014
Eileen-thinking of you and your family. James was a wonderful person and cousin.
Janet (Lynch) and Dan Grimes
August 19, 2014
A mentor to many of us. Fondly remembered.Class of 1971 at West Haven High School.
My condolences to his family.
Maryann Trocchio
August 19, 2014
Eileen and Family

Jim was in my thoughts just a few days ago and I am so sorry to hear of his passing. We were colleagues at WHHS and accomplished many things in our drug education program to help our students. A good man.

Jim Spina

students. A good man
August 19, 2014
I worked with Jim at Guilford High School. I worked for Charrette Pro-Graphics in a previous career and we did some graphics for the New Haven Hockey team at the New Haven Colosseum. Jim and I had a few conversations about the Colosseum. So sorry about his passing. He did the things that were important to him. The students in Guilford liked and respected him.
Karl Janesky
August 19, 2014
Mr. Perillo was my guidance counselor at West Haven High/1971-I remember him fondly. My condolences to his family.
Camille DeDomenico Golod
August 19, 2014
To the Perillo family,

Our deepest condolences on the passing of one great guy, Jim Perillo.

You are and have been in our prayers for months.

Currently away on vacation. Sorry to miss the mass.

God Bless,

Liz and John Vigliotti
August 19, 2014
condolences to Jim's family from a former employee of the Nighthawks hockey team.
Judy Dunlop
August 19, 2014
My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of my former guidance counselor, may he rest in peace.
Karen DeRosa, class of '74
August 19, 2014
I grew up in the Hill section of New Haven with Jim. He was a couple of years older than me but we played baeball in the same little league and attended the same high school. One day while walking home from Notre Dame(I was a freshman and Jim was a senior) along Spring street, a large dog saw me and started chasing me. I ran as fast as I could but knew the dog would eventually catch me. Out of nowhere, Jim comes driving down Spring Street and sees me running.Jim was driving and Billy Santillo was riding shotgun. He stopped his car and said, "get in the car before that dog gets you!" I was never so happy and lucky that day. Thanks Jim. Rest in Peace.
Frederick Russo
August 19, 2014
I remember him fondly from my high school days. My condolences.

Dennis D'Amato
August 19, 2014
Thanks Jim -- for everything. Watch over us.
Tom Kokinda
August 18, 2014
Dear Jimmy. Great neighbor and friend. Softball coach for rudy's and woodworker extraordinaire. Loved by all your friends and family. You will be greatly missed. With love to Eileen and all the Perillos. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Fran and Sreve Grodzinsky and family
Fran Grodzinsky
August 18, 2014