James Strafford, 95
“There is an art to living. You have to practice it,” was an expression often repeated by Portsmouth resident James C. Strafford, 95, who died Aug. 26 at Hill View Retirement Center. In reciting this aphorism, Jim encouraged listeners to take pleasure in the routines of their daily lives—in time spent with loved ones, in food and drink, in their professions and in their pastimes. He exemplified this approach to life even in his final days by reveling in conversations with friends and family, in reading, in caring for his dogs, and in watching the Cincinnati Reds.
Born in Norwood (Cincinnati), Ohio, on Jan. 4, 1917, Mr. Strafford attended Portsmouth High School where he played varsity football. He graduated in 1935 and enrolled that year as a freshman at The Ohio State University. The 1937 flood prompted him to leave college in order to assist his family in restoring the operations of Craigmiles Furniture Company. He continued as an employee and eventual owner of that enterprise until his retirement in 1982. During WW II, Mr. Strafford served in Europe in the 398th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Corp. He spent several months as a POW but managed to escape and to reconnect with Allied forces. After returning to Portsmouth and his civilian life, he participated in the early stages of developing Shawnee State University and presided over the board of the Civic Savings and Loan Bank. Following retirement, Mr. Strafford renovated a historic cabin on property in Friendship, Ohio, where he enjoyed horseback riding and entertaining guests.
Mr. Strafford is survived by his son, Dr. J. Craig Strafford (Rebecca) of Gallipolis, Ohio, an OB/GYN and former President of Holzer Clinic, and by five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death in 2006 by Ruth Brown Strafford his wife of 65 years, and by his daughter, Dr. Lacey Alexandra Curtis (James), a longtime Professor at Ohio University Ironton and a member of Portsmouth City Board of Education.
Memorial services are to be conducted by the family at a later date. Donations may be made to the American Red Cross, 1801 Robinson Avenue, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662; or to Shawnee State University Development Foundation, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662.
Arrangements are under the direction of F. C. Daehler Mortuary Company in Portsmouth.