James F. ‘Jim’ Tongue, 80 Owned & operated The Cupboard

In Memoriam

James F. ‘Jim’ Tongue, 80

Owned & operated The Cupboard

Jim Tongue

COOPERSTOWN – James F. “Jim” Tongue, a true man about town and well-respected Cooperstown businessman who for many years owned and operated The Cupboard on Main Street, passed away following a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease Tuesday night, June 15, 2021, at his home on Walnut Street with his beloved wife and best friend, Barb, his daughters, step daughter and sister-in-law at his side. He was 80.

Born June 19, 1940, at Memorial Hospital in Catskill, James Frank Tongue was the second son of William Frank Tongue and Beatrice Catherine (Miller) Tongue. In 1953, Jim and his family moved to Cooperstown where his parents established The Cupboard, which fast became a staple of Main Street life as a well-known newsstand, gift shop and stationery store which Jim would later own and operate. The family settled into their home on Old School Court, and Jim’s outgoing personality quickly made him a welcome part of the 8th grade. Throughout his four years at Cooperstown High School, Jim was a popular young man who excelled in sports as a member of the Varsity basketball, baseball and football teams. He was also a member of the Varsity “C” Club and, known for his impeccable appearance, was listed as “Best Dressed” in the Who’s Who of the Class of 1958 (a trait that would follow him his entire life, as evidenced by his many closets of clothes!) Jim truly enjoyed his years at Cooperstown High, and remained a dedicated Redskin his entire life.

Following graduation, Jim enrolled at SUNY Cobleskill, graduating from there with an associate’s degree. He returned to Cooperstown and joined his parents at The Cupboard and become a well-liked member of the community. To say that Jim loved Cooperstown would be an understatement. His easy-going and likeable personality made this “man about town” the person everyone wanted to be around.

Jim’s happiness in life truly became evident and flourished when he met the love of his life, Barbara A. Ballard. Jim and Barb were married June 27, 1998, in the backyard of their home on Walnut Street, and they became not only husband and wife, but also best friends. Never one to miss a good party, Jim enjoyed many fun times with Barb and their friends at such venerable Cooperstown establishments as The Pit at The Tunnicliff Inn and The Pepper Mill. Jim and Barb enjoyed the simple pleasures in life together, such as long walks around the village, and he came to appreciate Barb’s fondness for the Adirondacks, enjoying many trips to Lake Placid, Old Forge, and the family camp at Inlet.

Jim will fondly be remembered for being always impeccably dressed and for his manicured yard at his Walnut Street Home. Always the sportsman, Jim’s athleticism carried through to his adult years as he enjoyed softball and bowling. Golf, though, was his true passion, and he played countless rounds as a member at the Leatherstocking Golf Course and enjoyed meeting up with his golfing buddies every morning for coffee. In addition to his love of sports, Jim was very community-minded, and through the years was a member of the Cooperstown Lions Club, Rotary Club, Native Sons, and American Legion Squadron 579. He was also an instrumental part of the Cooperstown Winter Carnival in its formative years.

Jim truly led a life well-lived. All those whose lives he touched will miss him.

Jim is survived by his beloved wife and best friend of 32 years, Barb Tongue, of Cooperstown; his daughters, Karen V. Lange and husband, Victor of Northville, and JoAnne C.“Joby” Iovoli and husband, Louis of Mendon; five grandchildren, Alexander Lange and wife, Donna, Catherine Lange and fiancé Christopher, and Nicholas Lange and fiancé, Victoria, and Madelyn Bradt and Michael Bradt; a great grandson, Parker Lange; and a stepdaughter, Hillary Bass LaDuke and her son, Caleb James Rosa. He is further survived by his older brother, William C. Tongue and wife, Nancy of Fairport and their family.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his first wife and mother of his daughters, Sally Patton Sanford, who died February 11, 2019.

Special gratitude goes out to devoted friends Keith and Kay Additon, and to the many health professionals who were instrumental in providing such wonderful home care for Jim until the time of his passing.

Family and friends are invited to a service to honor Jim’s life at 4 p.m. Friday, June 18, 2021, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown, with the Rev. Betsy Jay officiating. Immediately following the service, all are invited to gather at the Leatherstocking Golf Course Clubhouse for a time to reminisce and celebrate Jim’s life.

For those who so desire, memorial gifts may be directed to the following local organizations: The Cooperstown Fire Department, PO Box 1, Cooperstown, NY  13326; The Cooperstown Emergency Squad, PO Box 322, Cooperstown, NY  13326; and The Cooperstown Food Pantry, 25 Church Street, Cooperstown, NY  13326.

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

15 thoughts on “James F. ‘Jim’ Tongue, 80 Owned & operated The Cupboard

  1. Lynn Green

    Barb and family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. May you find comfort knowing Jim is now at peace. Cooperstown has lost a very special man.
    Lynn Green

  2. CLIF Buell

    So sorry for your loss. A sad time indeed but such great memories of a wonderful man

    CLIF and Susan

  3. Marion Heller Terpening

    So sorry for your loss Barb and family. Stopped by the cupboard many times in my days at Cooperstown. He was always so pleasant to talk too!

  4. Rose Pugliese Dorsman

    So sorry to hear of the passing of this wonderful man! His infectious personality and special memories will leave a smile in my heart. Prayers and love to Barb and

  5. Steve Bieritz

    So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Another great loss for Cooperstown. Sally and I send our condolences to Barb and the family. He will be missed by many.

  6. Steve Bieritz

    We are saddened to hear of the passing of Jim. Another great Cooperstown loss. Sally and I send our condolences to Barb and the family. He will be missed by many…….

  7. Deb Cembrinski

    So so sorry for your loss Barb and family … hoping just knowing how much others care will ease your sorrow/pain…. A great man and a great loss for our community indeed !! He will be missed !!!
    Deb Cembrinski

  8. dufferdave45


    David and I are so sad for your loss. We always enjoyed seeing you on your strolls around our beloved Village.

    David and Judy Jackson

  9. edlenn@yahoo.com

    Sending sincere condolences on the tremendous loss of your beloved husband Jim. It is a great loss for his friends and the entire community. God Speed Jim.

  10. Don and Katy Noakes

    A Cooperstown super star! Doc and I both thought the world of Jim. A great loss of a wonderful man. Our sincere sympathy;

  11. kenneth G weir

    Gail and I both send our heartfelt condolences. Its difficult finding words at times like this other than stay strong…

  12. Kim White

    Dear Barb,
    I just heard the news of Jim’s passing. I am so sorry for your loss. Jim was such a great man. I was also sorry to hear of his illness of Alzheimer’s.
    I hope he and my mom are doin the Jitterbug up there and laughing about old times, until we get to join them again one day.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and the girls.
    Kim (Card) White

  13. Suzanne Gould

    We just heard the news of Jim’s passing. We are so very sorry for your loss. Please know if you need anything we are right next door. Our deepest condolences to you and your family.

    XO Lacey and Suzanne XO

  14. Hayden & Marlene Spencer

    Just learned of Jim’s passing. Knew Jim in the early years (50’s) and then again in the 90’s into the 20’s.He was always friendly .. a very accommodating person. A class act. Our condolences to Barb and family. Cooperstown will greatly miss him.

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