PINEHURST, North Carolina – James Francis Diffley, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010.
Jim was born and grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. He was the only child of the late John and Anne Diffley (DeRaud).
Following graduation from Youngstown East High School, he served in the U.S. Army for two years, followed by service in the U.S. Army Reserve. While in the service, he played basketball for the Post Basketball Team based in Monmouth N.J., traveling all over the United States.
Upon discharge from active duty, he entered the University of Michigan with a football grant and was a lifetime member of the Michigan Victors Club, forever loyal to his University of Michigan. Following graduation from the University of Michigan Business School, Jim entered the business world with the sales force of Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company.
In 1957, he went to work for Milwaukee Forge, making his home in Mequon, Wisconsin. He rose from Vice President of Sales to President and CEO and upon retirement in 1992 was named Chairman of the Board at Milwaukee Forge, where he served his company until his final resignation in 2001.
Jim was an athlete that excelled in more than one sport. He participated in football, basketball, baseball, boxing and golf. He was an over the top sports fan enjoying both collegiate and professional and a forever Green Bay Packers supporter.
In recognition of his accomplished high school athletic achievements, in 2001, he was inducted into the Youngstown East Sports Hall of Fame with the distinction of being the only high school athlete to letter 12 times. In addition, he holds the medal for Marbles Champion of Youngstown, Ohio of which he was equally proud.
Jim, also affectionately known as Diff or Differ, kept his friendships forever, they included his buddies in Youngstown, his University of Michigan friends, colleagues in the steel forging business and his Pinehurst pals, that he regularly played golf with, his CCNC golf group, gin rummy club and the Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club. All enjoyed his storytelling, jokes and many quips “A Promise Made is a Debt Unpaid”.
He loved to travel the world filling his passport, including Russia in 1976, often commenting that there was only a “wee bit” of the world that he hadn’t visited. His favorite country was Ireland, the birthplace of his fraternal grandparents, which he visited many times. He was so proud of his Irish heritage.
Diff had a special place in his heart for Anna Maria Island, Florida, where he and Cody, his loving wife of 24 years, spent many of their winters. It will be his final resting place.
Jim was preceded in death by his first wife, Dr. Patricia Murray.
He is survived by his wife, Cody Hempstead Haney Diffley; his family, Hank Haney (Suzanne) of Dallas, Halle Haney Bowe (Ed) of Amelia Island, Fla.; and grandchildren, Carter, Bridgette and Hannah Bowe of Amelia Island.
A funeral Mass will be held Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010, at 11 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pinehurst.
Please visit www.bolesfuneralhome.com
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Boles Funeral Home in Pinehurst is serving the family.
Mahoning County, Ohio