Cover photo for James L.  Witherel's Obituary
James L.  Witherel Profile Photo

James L. Witherel

July 23, 1933 — October 4, 2016

James L. Witherel

Longtime Perry resident James Witherel has died at the age of 83. Jim passed away October 4, 2016 at the Wyoming County Community Hospital in Warsaw after decades-long battle with heart disease.
James was born in Perry in 1933 to the late Alton and Kathryn (Ryan) Witherel. He was a 1951 graduate of Perry Central High School and worked at SUNY Geneseo where he retired in 1995.
James was a longtime member of the Silver Lake Country Club and National Rifle Association. He was an avid golfer, hunter and angler. He enjoyed reading, doing crossword puzzles and watching sports on television. He especially enjoyed watching his grandchildren play in their sporting events. James also was a longtime Buffalo Bills fan, often telling stories of seeing games in the team’s younger years when they played at “the Rockpile.”
Jim is known best for his golf talent, which began at Silver Lake Country Club, where he lived with his mother, who was the kitchen manager. Because he was not old enough for the club’s minimum age to play in the Club Championship, he was given a special membership so he could compete in the 1952 Club Championship, which he won at the age of 18. The year prior to that, in his senior year at Perry, he won the individual Sectional Championship for the Buffalo District, a title that has not yet been earned by any other male student at Perry Central School.
Jim’s first Club Championship at Silver Lake C.C. in 1952 began a legacy that lasted through five decades. Of his 19 Club Championships, he earned the trophy at least once in every decade from 1952 through 1993.
Jim also won the New York State Senior Golf Championship for his age group several times.
Jim’s golf legacy endures through this day in the swings of several family members and friends. In his later years when playing was difficult, Jim continued to share his knowledge to anyone requesting advice.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents and siblings: sisters June Patanella, Virginia Gjersvik, Ann Sages, Elizabeth DeVaul, and infant Kathleen; and brothers Robert and William.
Jim is survived by his wife, Eileen (Valone) Witherel. The couple would have celebrated their 40th Anniversary in February 2017.
He is also survived by his daughter, Elizabeth (Beth) Eriksen of Sarasota, Fl; step-children, Keith (Hilary) Standera of Warsaw, NY; Renee (Perry) Sexton of Columbia, SC; three grandchildren John Eriksen, Thomas and Lizzy Standera, and many nieces and nephews.
There is no prior visitation. Services will be announced at a later date.
Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association PO Box 417005 Boston, MA 02241-7005. or visit www.heart.org.

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