January 6, 1920 - February 2, 2017
James Henry Van Arsdale III, 97, of Castile, passed away peacefully Thursday, February 2, 2017. James was born on January 6, 1920, to James Henry “Harry” Van Arsdale Jr. of Castile, NY and Jane Valentine Gouinlock of Warsaw, NY.
Jim’s childhood was spent mainly outdoors with his two brothers, William Gouinlock and Charles “Bud” Lee. Days were spent sailing on Silver Lake, skiing in the Wolf Creek Valley and Letchworth Park, trapping muskrats and neighborhood skunks, and camping and hiking. Jim’s mother taught the boys a love of nature as well as competitive sailing on Silver Lake and identification of local trees and wildflowers.
Jim graduated from high school in Castile in a class of eleven. He then attended Cornell University with his brothers and cousins, John and Barber Conable. After graduating from Cornell in 1941 he served in the Army Field Artillery in World War II from 1941 to 1946. He served in England, North Africa and Italy as Forward Observer, flying in small planes over enemy lines to direct artillery fire in Italy. Jim earned a Silver Star, Croix de Guerre, Air Medal, EAME (European Theater) with five Battle Stars and an American Defense Ribbon.
Jim returned to Castile to work at The Bank of Castile for the next 47 years. The bank was a family business and he worked with his father and brother Bud. Jim eventually became President and Chairman of the Board. While working at the bank, Jim also pursued dairy farming. He purchased Southview Farm in Castile and later, with partner Dick Popp, expanded and modernized.
Jim met the lovely Suzanne Jameson after the War at the Gouinlock cottage on Silver Lake. Sue’s father Norris Jameson was a colleague and friend of Patrick Gouinlock of Warsaw, and the Jamesons were visiting from Buffalo. A lightning courtship ensued and they were married months later. Over the course of a seventy-year marriage, Jim and Sue raised five children and were blessed with twelve grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
All of Jim’s life he was involved in civic and community service. He was an active volunteer fund raiser for many local organizations including the United Way, Red Cross, Boy Scouts, the Castile United Church of Christ, the Castile Youth Hostel, Letchworth Central School’s pool, the Wyoming County Community Hospital expansion, the Community Club and many others. He loved to marshal his children and grandchildren to hand-pick flowers and deliver posies of lilies of the valley around Castile.
Jim has had a life-long affiliation with the Boy Scouts. He achieved Eagle Scout and later became a scout leader. He organized tennis tournaments for many years to benefit scouting activities and was awarded the Silver Beaver for his valued efforts on behalf of the local Boy Scout Council.
Fishing was a lifelong love, from trolling on Silver Lake to week-long retreats in wildest Quebec or Ontario. His love of fishing and canoeing brought him to take each of his children and friends to Ontario Canada’s Algonquin Park. Many young people in Castile have fond memories of “roughing it” in Algonquin with Jim and Sue.
He loved tennis and played most of his life, right up to the “Super Seniors” group he helped to organize. He and Sue also watched all the big matches on television and for some years hosted “Breakfast at Wimbledon” for friends and family. Going to Buffalo Bills, Braves and Sabres games was a great pleasure for Jim, especially when they won! Jim was also a very fine bridge player. He and Sue played for years in a bridge club with their contemporaries in Castile and later taught his two youngest granddaughters to be very astute players themselves.
Jim and Sue loved to travel. During trips to Europe Jim was able to keep up ties with friends met during the War. His closest friend from the war resided in France and sent several of his intrepid children to polish their English with Jim’s family over several summers. Eventually Jim, Sue, various children and grandchildren returned the visits to these family friends in Brittany and Paris, France.
Many trips were also made to visit their children in Boston, New York City, Maine, Virginia, Jamaica, and Ohio. A visit to Jamaica to see Jamie in the Peace Corps morphed into 35 years of winters in that tropical paradise – first to tennis and golf resorts and later to a cottage in Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth Parish. Many grandchildren learned to swim in their pool and body surfed in the crashing waves. Jim loved to share Jamaica with friends, and a steady stream of visitors would arrive in Treasure Beach while he and Sue were in residence. As a daily routine, Jim and Sue arose every day before the sun and walked to the end of the beach, turning in time to see the sun rise.
Jim was known as an honest, kind, generous, humorous person. He will be greatly missed by his friends and family. Jim left behind his brother Bud; his wife of 70 years, Suzanne Jameson Van Arsdale; daughter Ruth Van Arsdale of Maine and her son James “Jamie” Cox of Florida; daughter Mary Jane Van Arsdale (Marvin) Miller of Virginia and their three daughters, Sarah (Nick) Miller Colombo of St. Louis, Dinah of New York City, and Julia of Chicago; son James “Jamie” Van Arsdale IV (Margaret) of Castile, and his daughter Abigail (Dan) DeBolt of Livonia and her daughters Ellie and Audrey, his daughter Emily (Rob) Derin of New Jersey and her sons Charlie and John, his sons Mike of Castile and Steve of Germany; daughter Katrina Gouinlock Drouhard of Castile and her son Ben (Hannah) and daughter Beth; son Peter and his daughters Suzanne and Jeanette.
Friends may call Thursday, February 16 from 4 – 8 PM at the Harmon-Watson Funeral Home, 35 N. Main St., Castile, NY. Jim’s memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 18 at 1 PM at the Castile United Church of Christ (cor. Washington & N. Main Sts.). In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Castile United Church of Christ, PO Box 512, Castile, NY 14427 or HomeCare & Hospice, 450 N. Main St., Warsaw, NY 14569.
February 16, 2017 : Calling hours for James Henry Van Arsdale III - 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
February 18, 2017 : Memorial service for James Henry Van Arsdale III at the Castile United Church of Christ - 1:00 PM - corner of Washington & N. Main Streets, Castile
Feb 15.17 from Dale & Ann Reynolds:
There has never been a better or more helpful friend or a better boss than Jim. He helped my parents finance the farm when they came to Castile and he helped us when our house burned when we were first married. We'll never forget his kindness and what a great family he and Sue raised. Rest in Peace Jim
Feb 13.17 from Carl Yunker:
Jim was a great man. Knew him only casually
First met at Cornell as my commanding officer in ROTC.
Feb 13.17 from Judy Hoffman:
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. May God be with you all at this very sad time. May all your wonderful memories if him bring you some comfort. He was a very special man.
Feb 13.17 from Gail McCormick:
My deepest condolences on Jim's passing. He was such an inspiration. His kindness was always evident. I enjoyed his quick smile & lovely conversation. A long life well lived with love of his family, friends & community. He will be missed.
Feb 13.17 from Jeanne Yencer:
I worked with Jim on the Iroquois Trail Council Boy Scout Golf and Tennis Tournament for many years. I always looked forward to seeing him at the meetings. His smile lighted up the room. I know God welcomed Jim into His house in heaven with open arms!
I will miss you Jim! Thanks you for the memories!
Feb 11.17 from Sue & Ray Hengelsberg:
Our sympathy to all of Jim's family. He was a great guy.
Feb 10.17 from Doug DeGroff:
My condolences to the family. Jim was such a nice man... he and Dick Popp were my first employers and he always made a point of checking in when visiting the farm. He will be missed by many
Feb 10.17 from Anne Humphrey:
My condolences to Sue and the family. Always a gentleman, he will be missed by all who knew him.
Feb 10.17 from Jean Beaumont Boltz:
Dear Ruthie, So sorry to hearing about your Dad's passing. Sending you and your family my sympathy.
Feb 9.17 from Marjorie French Newton:
Mary Jane and Jamie,
Sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. I got my first car loan from him.
My parents dealt with his bank until they retired to Florida and highly respected him.
Feb 9.17 from Clint & Sharon Newell:
Mary Jane, we sympathize with you at the loss of your father. Both of us have lost our parents, and we know how sad that can be.
Feb 9.17 from Hazel Upton Hopkins:
Dear Ruthie and family,
What a life he led! May we all be so fortunate!
thanking of you....
Feb 9.17 from Mary Upton Davis:
How blessed to have had your dad for so long. It was lovely to read about his amazing life and family. Wishing you all comfort.
Feb 9.17 from Terrylee Dembowski:
Jim was was the man that help me secure a loan to go to college.. It wasn't much in maybe his eyes.. But it was in mine.Have always thought fondly of him ... May God Bless
Feb 9.17 from Dianne Yarbrough Cottrill:
Mary Jane, we are so very sorry to hear about the death of your dad. He was a very special man over those long years. Our decent sympathies for you and your family.
Love, Dianne and Jim Cottrill
Feb 9.17 from Paul & Masae Dougherty:
What a wonderful man and beacon of light. We have many fond memories of Jim and Sue. It was an honor and pleasure to have known and admired him.
Feb 8.17 from Tom Greenwood:
Jim was beloved by my parents Tom and Margaret, his first cousin and was incredibly kind and loving to me and my family on all the times I visited the area.
RIP, Jim. We love you.
Feb 8.17 from Carolyn Bauers:
A wonderful boss. Enjoyed my many years working at the Bank. Even when he brought the "barn" with him.
Feb 8.17 from Judy and Sam Schillaci:
Great man his friendship will be missed dearly. Loved working with Jim for many years at the Bank.