James Raitt Obituary
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In Memory of

James Walter Raitt

March 5, 1945 - December 1, 2012
Obituary

My Jimmy: my love, the light of my life, my best friend. My Jimmy: wise, loving, kind, generous. My Jimmy: humorous, loyal, intelligent, romantic yet practical, just as likely to bring me a tax statement as a bouquet of roses cut from the bushes in our yard. We shared thirty-six years as man and wife, thirty-six years as lovers of the life we had, thirty-six years working together, planning together, dreaming together, scheming together, playing together. Thirty-six years as partners in this earthly journey enjoying every day of those thirty-six years because no matter what circumstances surrounded us, God gave us reasons to feel joy in...
My Jimmy: my love, the light of my life, my best friend. My Jimmy: wise, loving, kind, generous. My Jimmy: humorous, loyal, intelligent, romantic yet practical, just as likely to bring me a tax statement as a bouquet of roses cut from the bushes in our yard.

We shared thirty-six years as man and wife, thirty-six years as lovers of the life we had, thirty-six years working together, planning together, dreaming together, scheming together, playing together. Thirty-six years as partners in this earthly journey enjoying every day of those thirty-six years because no matter what circumstances surrounded us, God gave us reasons to feel joy in each other and in all the little things we did day in and day out.

Jimmy had a wonderful childhood, growing up in Floral Park and East Williston, New York. His parents, Mollie and Perry were devoted to one another and devoted to giving their all for their children, Jimmy and Kathleen. From them, Jimmy learned the values of hard work, perseverance and caring for family above all. Jimmy, like Perry, spent long hours working in the entertainment industry yet always found the time to be there for a family member in need. This caring also extended to his many friends, whom he mentored, advised, encouraged. He was the proverbial friend in need.

Jimmy was a proud member of the United States Air Force and had awe and admiration for members of all the armed forces. In the Air Force, he developed a lifelong love of flying, both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Our daughter, Michelle, shares his love for flying and was a partner in many helicopter flights and his enthusiastic companion at air shows in California.

Jimmy excelled on the job as a motion picture property master and has an impressive list of credits which include, "All That Jazz", "Moonstruck", "Trading Places", "Tootsie" and "The Rat Pack". It was at the wrap party for the film, "All That Jazz", that the director, Bob Fosse proclaimed, "Jimmy is the best property master I have ever worked with."

Jimmy was also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and as a result, had some face time in many of the movies on which he worked as a property master. Perhaps the most notable was his role as "Ophelia's Client" in the movie, "Trading Places". His big scene comes about two-thirds of the way into the film when he knocks on the door of "Ophelia's" apartment, bouquet of roses in hand saying, "It's ten o'clock. Here's Johnny!"

For the first sixteen years of our married life, we lived in New Jersey. We were in close proximity to my parents, sister Sue, cousins, aunts and uncles. Jimmy and my father became buddies in the truest sense of the word and shared many wonderful adventures. They had a unique relationship and loved one another. Our greatest joy came in 1981 when we adopted our daughter, Michelle. We also found great pleasure in caring for our first two Scottish Terriers, Bonnie and Heather.

The occasion of the first meeting of Jimmy and my father, "The Chief", was quite remarkable, to say the least. Jimmy arrived at our house for our first date. My father, a deputy police chief and his brother, a member of the state police, greeted him at the front door and told him to go around the back. They led him into the living room, ordered him to sit on a chair in the middle of the room and began interrogating him. As if this weren't enough, a few days later, my father took Jimmy to the city lock-up and had him photographed. His mug shot is among the photos in this program.

If ever I had a shred of doubt, it evaporated on our first date. I knew, then and there, on that night, in October, 1974, in my living room, that he would be my husband, the man with whom I would go through life.

What many friends and family remember most about Jimmy is his great sense of humor, sometimes self-deprecating. He had a way with words, a twinkle in his eye and was not shy about sharing an anecdote, a one-liner or run-on joke, which he embellished with personal details depending on the person whom he was addressing. He made me laugh many times through my tears and kept my spirits up when we were going through trials and tribulations.

We moved to California in 1992. Jimmy worked hard, sending our resumes, making contacts with production companies and finally landing his first West Coast job as a property master for the film, "Lost in Yonkers". He retired in 1999 and began living the life of "Lord of the Manor". He spent quality time with our Scottish Terriers, Penny and Beacon, met a new group of friends, including Bernie Lavin and Don Bowers and set up shop in the local Starbuck's in Barnes and Noble.

My retirement came three years later. These retirement years were spent doing what we most enjoyed doing: being together and partaking in the simple pleasures of life. Part of that time was spent caring for our new Scotties, Abigail and Copper Penny, taking road trips to meet our cousins, Kathy and Bill in San Luis Obispo, meeting up with Peter and Megan at the Hollywood Bowl or going to the Cheesecake Factory for our monthly dinner date.

Jimmy loved life, loved his life with his family and friends and will forever be the love of my life. Rest in peace my "Top Dog" and know that your "Spot" was grateful for every minute of every hour of every day that we spent together.


Donations may be made, in Jimmy's honor, to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Humane Society.

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"What can I say about Jimmy Raitt? I met Jimmy after being contacted by he and Joanie when selling there home on Urban Club Road in Wayne, NJ. I had..." Brian Marston (Charlotte, NC)

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