James Kohm
James Kohm

Obituary of James R. Kohm

James Richard Kohm passed away early on May 2, 2020. He was born in Camden, NJ on February 20, 1933 to the late Ernest Kohm and Rose Daly. Jim graduated from Camden (NJ) Catholic High School in 1951 and attended LaSalle University. He left LaSalle to serve in the Korean War where he was stationed in Germany. He was fluent in German and never missed an opportunity to speak it. His time in Germany was special to Jim, so much so that he became a WWII history buff. After his service, he returned to LaSalle to earn a degree in Economics. (He attended LaSalle with classmate Peter Boyle, the grandfather on the TV show ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and star of ‘Young Frankenstein’.) He spent his college summers in Wildwood, NJ where Jim worked as a railroad conductor and once met Joe Dimaggio on the train. He most likely told you these stories if you knew him. Jim loved to tell his stories. While in Wildwood, he would often dance six nights a week. This led to Jim meeting his wife Emily who also loved to dance - except when Emily met Jim she initially turned him down. Her friend told her she was crazy: ‘Don’t you know that is Jimmy Kohm?’ Eventually Emily agreed to a dance and the rest is history. At any wedding, Jim and Emily would put on a show swing dancing to ‘Splish Splash.’ Their wedding was on October 7, 1960 and the couple had four sons. Jim and Em enjoyed traveling a great deal within the United States and abroad. They honeymooned in Bermuda and returned over ten times. They also went to Italy, Portugal, Jamaica, London and many more. They also enjoyed Florida, taking the kids to Disney World on numerous occasions and then wintering in Sanibel during their retirement years. Professionally, Jim went to work as a sales engineer for the Delavan Corporation where he served for 42 years, retiring in 1999. He started his career in Philadelphia until he was transferred to New England in 1964. Jim was excited to settle on Beverly Road in Bedford where he and Emily lived in the same house for almost 55 years. Jim loved Bedford and volunteered in many capacities for the recreation department as a coach and referee for basketball and an umpire for baseball. He loved refereeing basketball so much that he became an IAABO official and worked high school games until he was 75. He was honored to be selected to referee the Dual County League All-Star Game. Jim also was an avid tennis player. He was a member of Wedgewood Swim & Tennis Club and was very proud to have won the doubles tournament one summer. Jim loved his sports and eventually switched his allegiances from Philadelphia to Boston sports teams - he loved the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots especially. Ever the pessimist, when the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004 and everyone was rejoicing, his first thought was “What are they going to do in the bullpen for next year?” He also convinced himself that the Patriots would lose every Super Bowl so in the event they did he would be less disappointed because he would be able to brag ‘I called it.’ The only hobby that topped sports may have been his love for working on his lawn. Jim won the “Best lawn in the neighborhood” over 30 years straight - of course, it was a self-appointed title. He will perhaps be most remembered for just loving people. No one enjoyed a good joke more than Jimmy, especially if it was at his expense. 'That was a good one’ he would say. He enjoyed hearing about all of his nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and the neighborhood kids. He stopped having the paper delivered just so he could go buy it at Stop & Shop and visit with the workers or anyone else he might bump into. Finally, Jim loved to eat in restaurants and would request his favorite waitress at each one. Someone is missing a big tip tonight. RIP Dad Jim is survived by his son Michael and his wife Nichelle of Louisville, CO; son Douglas of Acton, MA; son Philip and his wife Shannon of Glendale, AZ; and son Jason and his wife Kim of Litchfield, NH. ‘Papa Jim’ was also the proud grandfather of Carlos, Jillian, Lauren, Jaya and Rachel. Jim is also survived by his sister Maryanne Mingle of Collingwood, NJ and many loving nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother Joe. A Celebration of Life is delayed due to COVID-19 and hopefully will take place in the Fall 2020. Donations in Jim’s honor are appreciated and can be mailed payable to Bedford Athletic Association, PO Box 408, Bedford, MA 01730.
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