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May 29, 1979-June 29, 2012
James (Jim) Joseph Raftery III, 33, passed peacefully from this world on Friday, June 29, 2012 in Fort Lauderdale, FL, after a long battle with cancer. On that day our world suffered the loss of a kind and gentle soul, a young man with compassion, courage and a fearless love of life.
Jim was born May 29, 1979 in Virginia Beach, VA, and spent most of his youth in Orleans, VT. He attended Orleans Elementary School, graduated from Lake Region Union High School in 1998 where he stood out as a cross country skier, and attended the University of Alaska at Anchorage. He received an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from the Arts Institute of Fort Lauderdale in 2008.
After living in the Northeast Kingdom, Anchorage, AK, and Boston, MA, Jim settled in Fort Lauderdale where he was owner of PassionFood, a private chef and catering company. He loved antiques, yoga, scuba diving, and standup paddle boarding.
He will be greatly missed byÂ his parents Joanie and Larry Austin of Orleans; his siblings: Bobby Raftery of Brattleboro, VT; Derek Austin and his wife Jenn of Chesapeake, VA; Kathryn Raftery of Culpeper, VA; and Chesley Austin and her partner James Peverill of Canton, MA; his partner of seven years, Michael Lenihan of Fort Lauderdale; his grandparents, Lois and Warren Austin of Orleans, VT; his aunts, Karen Bennett and Ann Austin of Orleans; and his baby nieces, Chessa and Riley Austin of Chesapeake. He also leaves his beloved miniature schnauzers, Chips and Lealea. He was predeceased by his grandparents, Bob and Kitty Bennett, and his sister, Molly Raftery.
A memorial service will be held at Orleans Federated Church on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 11 a.m. with Rev. Harvey Bartlett presiding. A reception will follow at the church directly following the service.
Many thanks are extended to Albany Community School and Lake Region Union High School administrators, staff and communities for allowing Jim's mother to be at his side for long periods of time during his illness. Thank you to the Village of Orleans trustees and staff for their support of his father. Thank you to friends and family who have provided support in thoughts, prayer, love, generous acts and various kindnesses.
If desired, donations in Jimâ€™s memory may be made to either The Orleans Emergency Unit, C/O Dottie Collier, 1327 Dry Pond Rd., Glover, VT 05839 or The Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter, 4473 Barton-Orleans Rd., Orleans, VT 05860.