James B. Ziemba, 78, of Rices Landing, passed away peacefully Tuesday, October 19, 2021, surrounded by the love of his family and friends. Jim was born May 7, 1943, in Isabella, a son of the late Anthony and Josephine Wytko Ziemba.
Jim was the beloved husband of 56 years to Dolores "Dolly"; father of Lori Sagosky and her husband, Kenny of Masontown; godfather to Pete "Poe", Lynne, Scott and Shannon; and friend to many.
Jim was one of five siblings, which include sisters, Marilyn and Antionette; and brothers, Joseph, who died in infancy, and Stanley.
After graduating from Brownsville High School in 1961, Jim furthered his education in Uniontown, where he learned the trade of welding. Jim worked at Hillman Barge in Brownsville, Lee-Norse in Charleroi, and US Steel Homestead Works in Homestead before beginning what would be a 32-year career with Allegheny Power System at Hatfield's Ferry Power Station, where he worked as a maintenance welder until his retirement in 2003. Once retired, Jim never slowed down and was on the go, always helping Dolly and anyone who asked.
Jim was a worker all his life, even until the very end. In his early years as a young boy, he used to help his dad with butchering, feeding the chickens, and building garages. Later, he became a metal worker and enjoyed creating specialty items. He was happy fixing anything that was broken or making something for someone in need, from lion cages to garden sprinklers to any contraption he could imagine. Jim enjoyed curing and smoking meats in the smoke shanty that he built and roasting a hog on his hog spit. He also looked forward to roasting lambs with his Serbian friends at the St. George annual lamb roast. He was always outside working in his shed or in his garden, a garden that could be considered a showcase. Jim found pleasure in sharing the fruits of his labor by giving away vegetables, smoked turkeys, smoked salmon, and kielbasa to friends and family. Although he would never admit it, Jim liked cutting grass. Afterwards, he would watch the hummingbirds feed, one of the few moments he sat still.
Although Jim loved being at home working in his shed or garden, he had an adventurous spirit. He especially loved traveling to Florida. From taking Dolly and Lori on their first of many trips to Walt Disney World for the grand opening, to searching for the perfect shells along the beach with Dolly (he was particularly good at finding prized shark's eyes), to fishing for snook in the Gulf waters with Lori and Kenny; Jim liked to travel. Taking Disney cruises around the Bahamas, vacationing to Las Vegas with Dolly and dear friends John and Marie, and the many trips to the local casinos provided Jim with another favorite pastime, eating. Jim loved a good meal and savored every bite, but he always had room for dessert, especially a banana split.
Jim was a man of many words and anyone who talked with him knew it. He enjoyed talking to people and always had a story to tell or gardening tips to offer. Wherever he was, he would strike up a conversation with the "blue collar" worker because that's what he was. A man of strong convictions and beliefs, Jim was a proud union man and a member of the Utility Workers' Union of America Local 102-M. Jim was also proud of his Polish heritage and always had polkas playing while he drove around in his truck. He was a member of the Elk's Lodge #0846 and was a member of St. Matthias Parish in Carmichaels.
Jim will be missed by his fur buddy, Leroy Brown (Little Girl), but waiting to greet him at the "Rainbow Bridge" were his many beloved companion animals, most notably Smokey, the jelly bean-eating, beer-drinking pony; Hot Shot, his ever-faithful German Shepherd; and his feline buddies Hobie, Deuce, Lucky and Kimba.
The family wishes to thank the incredible caregivers and staff at Arden Courts of Jefferson Hills, who became part of our family. Their quality care, constant kindness, caring compassion, total understanding, and never-ending support during this part of Jim's journey is very much appreciated.
Family and friends will be received from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, October 23, and 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, October 24, in the Paul M. Lesako Funeral Home, Inc., 204 Dowlin Avenue, Carmichaels, PA 15320, 724-966-5100, Paul M. Lesako, funeral director/supervisor. A prayer service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, October 25, in the funeral home followed by the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. in St. Hugh Church, Carmichaels.