Aug. 28, 1930 – Dec. 14, 2019
James F. Faery rose from humble roots on a Town of Cambria farm to become Niagara County’s undersheriff, serve as a Niagara County legislator in retirement and launch a second career at the Somerset coal-fired power plant.
Yet he always found time for farming and his family members, who helped him grow grapes, pumpkins and sell Christmas trees on his 20-acre Wilson farm. But Mr. Faery also had another passion – helping those in need.
“He always made sure every kid had a pumpkin and if a family needed a Christmas tree and didn’t have the money, they got one,” said Fran Faery, one of his three daughters. “We had a young man who worked for us on the farm and my dad bought him his first suit so he could wear it to his high school graduation.”
On Saturday, Mr. Faery, 89, died at Niagara Hospice in the Town of Lockport surrounded by his family and loved ones.
Described as a man with many friends because of the different avenues he traveled in life, Mr. Faery was often interrupted while tending to his flower beds and vegetable garden by old acquaintances who would stop by to say hello.
He always greeted them warmly and made time for a chat.
One of his former deputies at the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, in an online tribute, said he was kind and yet capable of reading the riot act in a manner in which offense could not be taken.
“I can't think there was a more caring and understanding individual I ever met. Even when he was chewing your (expletive) out for something, he was doing it in a way that you knew he was right and you knew you deserved it and you knew whatever it was had happened, it wasn't EVER going to go down that way EVER again.
“Aside from my own father and grandfather figures, I think I respected Jim equally over the years, that's how much I thought of him, almost as a fatherly figure. He was just that influential in my life. Thank you, Jim,” wrote retired Niagara County Deputy J. R. Reid.
A 1948 graduate of Wilson High School, Mr. Faery was president of his senior class and a star baseball player for the school. He, in fact, had a tryout with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
As a youngster, he had served as an altar boy at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and later as an usher and as a Eucharistic minister. He was also a member of the Holy Name Society. For more than 60 years, he served as a volunteer firefighter at South Wilson Volunteer Fire Company. His hobbies included hunting, golfing and bowling.
Married to the former Edith Bayles for 69 years, the couple traveled to a number of places, including Alaska.
Other survivors include two daughters, Linda Reynolds and Cynthia Spoth; a son, Louis J.; nine grandchildren; and nine great grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Friday in Immaculate Conception Church, 4671 Townline Road, Ransomville.