James Robert Zappala

James Robert Zappala born in Oswego, NY on Nov. 30,1952 passed away peacefully Nov. 20, 2021 with his family at his side.

Jim was a graduate from Oswego High School in 1971 and went off to Canton ATC until he was drafted.

He is survived by his wife and high school sweetheart, Cathy (Jones) and their two children Kimberly (Ken) Fox, of Oswego. Cory (Elizabeth) Zappala of Cato. Grandchildren Ryan and Ashley Fox of Oswego and Eli Zappala. He is survived by his father Samuel Zappala of Oswego and his siblings Connie (Dana) Decker of Fayetteville, Debbie (Ron) Ahart of Oswego, Diane (Richard) Ferguson of Oswego, Sam Zappala and David (Alla) Zappala both of Oswego and Christine Tuzzolino of Massapequa, NY and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his beloved mother Genevieve (Cerklewich) Zappala January of 2020.

Jim spent the majority of his life running Zappala Farms LLC, growing onions, lettuce and potatoes, a good part of that with his father and uncle John. He was a good caretaker of the land  and was quite innovative in the onion growing business, always thinking ahead of the curve. He was the first in the northeastern United States to commercially grow a sweet onion, he was very proud of his “Empire Sweets”. He designed and built the first 4-wheel drive self-propelled onion harvester. He shared his wife’s love for horses, together they owned Z-Ridge Farms on Middle Road in Scriba, until 1983. He enjoyed going to Otter Creek for trail rides and accompanying her to many Dressage shows. He was an avid hunter and enjoyed spending time in the woods with his son Cory, when the season began. He developed a deep love for woodworking, spending countless hours in his wood shop during his final years.

He was a member of St. Patrick’s Church in Cato. Jim’s faithful and life-saving dog, Abagail, still waits for him to come home. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to CIMAC Ambulance service 2496 W. Main St. Cato NY 13033.

Calling hours will be Friday, Nov. 26, 3-6 p.m. at the Keysor-Dain-Cullinan Funeral Home, Cato, a Catholic funeral Mass will take place Saturday, 11 a.m. at the St. Patricks Church, Cato, with burial to follow at the Cato Union Cemetery.