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James R. Pacino

By Joshua Smith
James R. Pacino

James Russell Pacino, 77, of Batavia, passed away on Friday, April 5, 2024. He had been ill for the past six months.

Born in Batavia on November 10, 1946, Jim was the son of the late Russell & Shirley (Towne) Pacino. He was a proud 1964 graduate of Batavia High School where he was a four-sport Blue Devils letterman in wrestling, baseball, tennis, and football. Following his graduation, James began pursuing a physical education degree at SUNY Brockport.

In 1967, Jim enlisted in the United States Navy.  He was trained at Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois, where his unique aptitude for science and experience working summers at the Batavia Veterans Hospital made him a perfect candidate to be trained as a Navy Medical Corpsman.

Jim was deployed in April of 1969 to serve with the Lima Company, 3rd Marine Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps – in Da Nang, Vietnam.  On May 29, 1969, Corpsman Pacino was wounded, treated and sent back to active duty until June 9, 1969, when his platoon was riding on a tank to set up outposts on the roadsides to prevent ambushes on the convoys. The tank exploded after hitting a land mine, killing 4 and wounding many others, including Corpsman Pacino.  He was treated for deep wounds in his legs, arms, chest, and neck. After three days, he was sent to Yokohama, Japan for more surgical procedures. Transported to St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens, NY, he spent a year recovering from his injuries and learning to walk again.  

Jim finished his service at the Naval Dispensary in Quantico, VA before being honorably discharged on November 6, 1970. In addition to a Purple Heart with Gold Star, Corpsman Pacino was awarded the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Palm Leaf, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Department of Navy Good Conduct Award.

Jim married PattiAnn Cleveland on July 29, 1972.  The couple moved to Philippi, WV, where Jim had enrolled in the newly created Physician’s Assistant program at Alderson-Broaddus College. In May of 1975 he earned his BS in Medical Science with a concentration in Physician’s Assistant.

Jim and Patti returned to Batavia where he began his 40-year career in medicine.  He first worked in Rochester for the private practice of Dr. Alessandro Bertoni. In 1989 he became the first Physician’s Assistants to be hired at Genesee Memorial Hospital. He worked in the Emergency Room until 2000 when GMH merged with St. Jermone to become United Memorial Medical Center. He spent the last 15 years of his career working in LeRoy at Genesee Family Practice, first with Dr. Lorne Campbell and then with Dr. Vladimir Gaspar.

Jimmy was an avid sports fan both loving (and hating) the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, NY Mets, University of Notre Dame, and Syracuse Orangemen.  He spent years watching and coaching his kids in youth sports, and continued to enjoy youth sports while watching his grandchildren play. He was a former member of the Kiwanis Club of Batavia where he enjoyed working on the pancake breakfast and the Easter egg hunt. James loved tending his tomato garden, working on his pool, and baking pies for holiday gatherings. He especially loved having his family over for pasta with homemade sauce and meatballs every Sunday, a tradition dating back to his grandparents arrival from Vallelunga, Sicily over a century ago.

James R. Pacino

Besides his wife of 51 years, Jim is survived by his children: Kristen Heather (Jeremiah) Elkins of East Pembroke, Jennifer Nicole (Jason) Lendvay and Joshua Michael (Carrie Rousseau) Pacino of Batavia; his 5 grandchildren: Izabella Elkins, Tyler Jay & Austin Jase Lendvay, Matthew & Garrett Rousseau; his sisters: Joan Eva (late Gerald) Halfenger, Judi (Felix) Maluso, Janice (Keith) Hunt, all of Batavia; Melanie (Craig) Cohen of Kenmore and Pamela (Patrick) Mills of Miami, FL; his nieces and nephews: G. Michael (Melissa) Halfenger of Whitefish Bay, WI, Jeff Konarski of Batavia, John (Melissa) Konarski of Ellicottville, Philip (Kelsey) Cohen, Daniel (Amber) Cohen all of Kenmore; his grand-nieces and nephews: Matthew & Kyleigh Halfenger, Gaege Morris, Blaise & Marley Konarski, Nika, Jionni, and Winter Cohen; numerous cousins, colleagues, and devoted friends.

Calling hours for James will be held on Friday, April 12, from 4-7pm at Bohm-Calarco-Smith Funeral Home. A mass of Christian burial will be Saturday, April 13, at 9:30am at Resurrection Parish, St. Joseph’s worship site, followed by a military burial in the Historic Batavia Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in James’ honor to the Batavia City Schools Foundation for the establishment of a wrestling scholarship.

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