James D. Portolos
DEFOREST – James D. “Jim” Portolos, age 69, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, surrounded by his family following a brief illness.
Jim was born July 9, 1948, in Cleveland, Ohio, to his parents, Peter and Penny Portolos. He was raised near the steel mills, just two houses away from Ralphie’s home in the movie, A Christmas Story.
Jim was a 1966 graduate of Lincoln High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and a 1971 graduate of Kent State University. He was a student during the historic Kent State campus shootings during the Vietnam War in 1970.
Jim married his high school sweetheart and partner in life, Judy A. Harasyn, on Nov. 20, 1971, in Cleveland. Jim and Judy traveled the country and experienced many adventures together. Most notably, they worked concessions at Cleveland Stadium during the first ever televised Monday Night Football game (Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets in September 1970). They also visited Walt Disney World during its grand opening in November 1971.
But the adventures truly began with the birth of their two lovely daughters, which then completed the “core four” Portolos family.
In 1981, Jim moved his family to Windsor, Wis., to raise his daughters and continue what would become a 40-year career in retail apparel sales.
Jim was an avid Cleveland sports fan, even though the Browns and Indians never made it easy for him. He also enjoyed watching UW Badgers football and basketball games. He was known for his love of Greek food, grilling, trips to Ho-Chunk casino and talk radio (especially Rush Limbaugh).
Jim is survived by his wife of 46 years, Judy; two daughters, Nikki Jon Portolos (Jeff Knies) of Oak Forest, Ill., and Melissa Jon Rodriguez (Sam) of Windsor, Wis.; grand-dogs, Rasta and Dupa; sister, Gail Karagiozis (Duke); brother-in-law, Dan Harasyn (Gail); life-long friends Stanley Bugala, and Bob and Judy Smurthwaite; our Highland Drive family that showered Jim with cards, food and heartfelt visits; and many relatives and friends in northeast Ohio. He was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Penny Portolos.
The family would like to thank the staff at UW Hospital TLC for giving Jim more precious time with his family and friends, and the staff at Agrace HospiceCare for making that time as comfortable and peaceful as possible for him.
Per Jim’s wishes, there will be no public services. His ashes will be scattered in Lake Erie and near his favorite places – Cleveland Stadium and Jacob’s Field.
Jim always enjoyed a good joke and was known for his unique sense of humor. As you head out the door today, he would want you to know that “it was so hot outside, I saw a dog chasing a cat, and they were both walking.”
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