FLY CREEK – James Francis Wolff, Sr., 79, longtime civic leader in Fly Creek, who served as Otsego town justice, and with the Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Company and EMT squad, lost his lengthy battle with cancer on Thursday, July 23, at his home with family by his side.
Born May 3, 1941, Jim was raised in Richmond Hill, Queens, and attended Richmond Hill High School, graduating as a scholar-athlete. After attending the City College of New York, he worked in the wood products industry, including positions at U.S. Plywood and Champion International.
He married his first wife Teresa Walicki in 1965, and the couple lived in Rutherford, N.J., and had two children. Jim was a staff sergeant in the logistics department of the Air Force from 1961 to 1969 and in 1972. The family left the New York City suburbs to join the Walicki family on their farm in Burlington, where Jim launched his own business importing and exporting plywood and lumber. There, he also started the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) chapter at the Edmeston Central School, beginning a long tenure of civic engagement.
In 1982, he married Margaret Williston Sloan and moved to their current home in Fly Creek, where they established Litco Farms Bed & Breakfast, one of the earliest B&Bs in the area. The couple hosted guests from all across the country, as well as international travelers, who came to visit the Cooperstown area.
Jim was elected as Otsego town justice in 1987 and served in that role for 25 years, and concurrently served as justice for the Village of Cooperstown from 1989 to 1993. He was also a past member of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce.
In recent years, Jim was very involved in numerous activities and organizations in Fly Creek. He served as an officer in the Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Company and was instrumental in helping FCVFC to become a transporting ambulance service. His love of his rural community was also expressed through his work with both the Fly Creek Valley Cemetery Association and the Fly Creek Historical Society, where he spearheaded the acquisition of the Fly Creek Grange building.
Jim loved to read and spend time with family and friends and always kept himself active, often being seen riding around the Litco Farms property on his bright orange Kubota tractor, working on one project or another. In recent years, he found enjoyment spending time with Margaret at their camp cottage on Lorton Lake in the Adirondacks.
He fought a valiant five-year battle with cancer and Jim was grateful for the outstanding care he received at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, as well as from his loving wife Margaret and sister-in-law Arlene.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Margaret, sister Janet and brother-in-law Jack Lowe of Ithaca, sister-in-law Arlene (Side) Wolff of Easton, Md., son and daughter-in-law James and Lisa (Johnson) Wolff and grandchildren Katherine and Adam Wolff, all of Newtown, Conn., son and daughter-in-law Gregory and Osa (Armi) Wolff and grandchildren Alexander and Nicholas Wolff, all of Piedmont, Calif., stepson and daughter-in-law Eric and Sarah (George) Sloan and granddaughter Samantha, all of Liverpool, and stepson Christopher Sloan of Morris. He was predeceased by his older brother Frank J. Wolff, of Easton, Md.
Per his wishes, Jim’s remains have been cremated and a memorial service will be scheduled when restrictions on large gatherings have been relaxed. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation in Jim’s memory to the Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Company, P.O. Box 218, Fly Creek, NY 13337.