Obituary of James Edward Stubenrauch
James Edward Stubenrauch, known as Jim to family, friends, and colleagues, died on Saturday evening, January 16, 2021, nearly four weeks after testing positive for COVID-19 and being hospitalized. He was 96. Born on August 18, 1924, Jim belonged to the Greatest Generation. He grew up in New York City during the Great Depression, attended high school at St. John’s Prep in Brooklyn, and in 1943, after one year at Queens College, he enlisted in the Navy. Jim qualified for the V-12 Navy College Training Program, an officer training program that allowed enlisted men to earn credits toward an undergraduate degree, and was placed at Hobart College in Geneva, New York. Transferred to Columbia University for the last few weeks of the program, he graduated in 1944 and received his commission as an ensign. He served aboard the USS Auburn (AGC-10), an amphibious force command ship that participated in two major campaigns, the assault and occupation of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. At the end of the war in the Pacific, on August 15, 1945, the Auburn was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; a few days later, the ship steamed toward the Philippines. After almost a month in port at Manila, the ship reached Japan in mid-September; in late September, about six weeks after the bombing, Jim was on the ground in Nagasaki. By the time Jim mustered out of the Navy in 1946, he had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant (junior grade), the equivalent of first lieutenant in other military branches. He returned to Hobart and graduated with a BA in history in 1948. After a brief stint as a commercial artist in Philadelphia, Jim returned to New York City and began a long career in the credit department of the Irving Trust Company. He earned his MBA from New York University at night and retired as a vice president of the bank in 1985. In 1954, Jim met Marie Jeanne Wood, a librarian nine years his junior; they married on September 10, 1955, and were together for 65 years. They raised three sons: James, John, and Paul. They lived in South Ozone Park, Queens, and then moved to Malverne in 1960. They moved again in 1968 to a house on Bayview Avenue in Massapequa, where they lived for nearly 46 years. After selling the house in 2013, they bought a condo in The Oaks at Broadlawn Manor. When they needed long-term care, they moved to Dominican Village in North Amityville, and at the end of 2018, they moved to The Bristal Massapequa. A devout Roman Catholic, Jim was always very involved in the Church: he played the organ at services in his youth, sang in the choir at Our Lady of Lourdes in Malverne, and continued with the choir at St. Rose of Lima in Massapequa, where he also served on the finance committee. Jim was also a member of the search committee that acquired a new organ for St. Martin of Tours in Amityville, where Jim and Jeanne attended daily Mass for many years. He and Jeanne were also Eucharistic ministers and lectors at both St. Rose and St. Martin. Jim was truly a Renaissance man, a person with many passions, interests, and accomplishments. He loved music, especially classical symphonies, choral music, and the popular tunes known as the Great American Songbook. Jim took much pleasure in playing both the piano and the organ, and had a wide-ranging repetoire: he played light classical music, Christmas carols, hymns, barbershop tunes, and the compositions of Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, and Jerome Kern, to name a few. He even played the occasional jazz or blues number. A specialty of his was wrestling with the full solo piano score of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. He was a talented draftsman and painter, a serious gardener, and a dedicated weekend beachgoer. In his long retirement, Jim became active in local politics, volunteering for school board campaigns and getting involved in the Massapequa chapter of the AARP. He had a keen sense of history and tradition and was always a sharp-eyed observer of current events. He remained an inveterate writer of letters to the editor of newspapers such as Newsday and The Long Island Catholic until the last year or two of his life. Jim cherished his family, was devoted to his parents and uncles, and was a great provider to his wife and children. He enjoyed entertaining friends and relations at home and loved a good argument and a strong martini or two. Jim’s wife, sons, and siblings—Mary (Cronin Wilson), Ann (Denninger), and Edward—as well as five grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews survive him. Because of the risks associated with gathering together during the pandemic, there will be no wake or funeral at this time. Anyone wishing to memorialize Jim’s long and extraordinary life is encouraged to have a tree planted in his name (order online through an organization such as thetreesremember.com) or make a contribution to a favorite charity.