Father David John James of the Diocese of Syracuse passed away on Oct. 13 at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. He was 71 years old.

Father James was a Syracuse native, the son of Lawrence and Katherine Meagher James. He attended Split Rock Elementary and West Genesee High School. His studies included undergrad work at Onondaga Community College and Wadhams Hall Seminary in Ogdensburg before entering theology study at Christ the King Seminary in Buffalo. He was ordained at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in 1991. The following year, he received certification by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.

His first parish assignments included St. John the Baptist Church in Syracuse and Sacred Heart in Cicero. He was named pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Pompey and St. Paul’s Mission in Fabius in 1998 and served through 2004. He then worked as a chaplain at SUNY Medical Center in Syracuse before assuming the same position at the Veterans Administration Medical Center two years later. He served there until retiring in 2021.

Father James was known for his kindness, compassion and dedication to the sick and less fortunate. He celebrated his 25th jubilee of priesthood in 2016 and shared then with The Catholic Sun that much of his priestly ministry had centered around death and end-of-life issues, and welcoming back people who had left the Church.

He is survived by sisters Mary Lou (Robert) Lake of Syracuse, Nancy (David) Zanoni of Syracuse and Jo Ann (Nik) Berrong of Fort Collins, Colo.; brother Robert (Linda) of Syracuse; sister-in-law Carole James of Syracuse; and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were scheduled for Oct. 24 at St. Joseph Church, Camillus, celebrated by Bishop Douglas J. Lucia. Interment was to follow at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery, Marcellus.

Contributions in Father’s memory may be made to St. Lucy’s Food Pantry, 432 Gifford St., Syracuse, NY 13204, honoring his dedication to helping those in need.

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