(ed. Former Tigertail Jim Durfer recently passed away and fellow Tigertail Charlie Daniels offered the following via Facebook. Reprinted by permission)
To all my family, friends and shipmates, my loud brother, Jim Durfer, lost his most courageous battle with ALS. If you knew Jim, he was larger than life and a loyal friend. He fought so hard against this horrendous disease. I loved Jim and will miss him deeply. Please keep his family, Anita, Lauren, and Jimmy in your thoughts.
My favorite Jim Durfer poem:
“Ode to a good boy”
There he stood, his hair all ablazin,’
His head held high, his shoulders thrown back
It is a constant struggle against the bad girl
He is the good boy.
I’ll miss you sweet prince.
– Charlie Daniels
Obituary from the Boston Globe (printed 2 August)
DURFER, James E. Florence. Born on a steamy summer day in Boston on the 21st day of August, 1963, Jim came out like a whirlwind until he was stilled by ALS 9 years ago. Raised on the gritty streets of Milton, he described growing up as idyllic. Surrounded by friends he has not lost since day one, he is said to have never lost a friend. As a child it was often mentioned “that boy would charge hell with a bucket of water.”
Jim matriculated at UMass, Amherst where he studied Political Science and Economics, graduating in 1985. Ever the patriot it is during this time he joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1982. Also it is during this time he met the love of his life, the beautiful Anita Garvey, marrying in 1987. Following college, Jim entered the Navy, earning his Naval Flight Officer wings in 1988, joining Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125. During this time, he fought in the Persian Gulf War and participated in flight test programs throughout the US. He flew over 80 missions in Desert Storm and had over 100 carrier landings. Noted decorations included the Meritorious Service Medal, multiple Air Medals and Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” for valor.
Following the Navy, Jim earned a MBA from Boston College where he began his career in business and technology consulting. Jim was very active in supporting youth sports in Northampton and coached lacrosse and soccer. He was an avid golfer and was a member of the Northampton Country Club for many years.
Jim leaves behind his wife of 29 years, his beautiful daughter Lauren, his best friend and rock Jim, his parents Ed and Carol Ann (Sullivan) Durfer, his brother Ed Durfer and his wife Maureen, his sister Karen DeFrancesco and her husband Frank of Quincy, and his father and mother-in-law Paul and Connie Garvey.
Jim’s Funeral will Saturday August 5th at 10 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, King St., Northampton, MA. Burial with Military Honors will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Calling Hours are Friday August 4th from 2-7 p.m. at the Ahearn Funeral Home, 783 Bridge Road, NORTHAMPTON. Donations in Jim’s memory may be made to the Northampton Recreation Department, 100A Bridge Rd., Florence, MA 01062 or to the Massachusetts Chapter of ALS, 315 Norwood Park South, 1st Floor, Norwood, MA 02062.
(Published in The Boston Globe on Aug. 2, 2017)