Obituary of James (Jim) Grote

July 26, 2022

James Joseph Grote passed away at age 74 on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in St. Augustine, FL. He is survived by his loving wife of 25 years, Nancy Grote (née Vanderwart), daughter Frances Berberena, sisters Patricia Finnen (Kenneth) and Joanne Mohamed (Joseph), brothers-in-law Herman Quiles and George Parker, along with many dearly-loved nieces, great nieces, nephews, and great-nephews.  James was preceded in death by his beloved parents Herbert and Evelyn; siblings Evelyn, Madeline, David, Arlene, Irene, Joseph, Julius, Henry, Dorothy, Frances, and niece Jeanne Marie.

Jim was born on February 9, 1948 in Hell’s Kitchen on the west side of Manhattan, NY, where the Grote family has had a presence from 1891 to the present day. Jim was a Vietnam War veteran, having served his country with pride with the United States Air Force and retiring as Sergeant in 1972. He was retired from Local 32BJ Service Employees International Union and Local 94 International Union of Operating Engineers. Jim and Nancy relocated to St. Augustine in 2007 where they made The Ancient City their home, thoroughly enjoying their retirement years amidst many new friends.

Family meant everything to Jimmy. His ability to love was infinite, his loyalty unwavering. He was as proud of his family’s humble, tenacious beginnings as he was hopeful to be part of creating a better future. He worked diligently to improve himself and help others. Jim was a man of integrity who possessed humility and saw dignity in everyone. 

Jim was well-spoken and multi-faceted. His interests were eclectic and varied widely. A gifted raconteur, when he told one of his colorful, character-driven stories from his life growing up and coming of age in Hell’s Kitchen, all were riveted. His quick wit and sense of humor never failed to bring forth raucous laughter. He was a passionate fan of professional boxing and an avid American history buff. Jim could expound on nearly any given topic with either a casual understanding or a deeply developed bank of knowledge. A man in search of a deeper understanding who had a genuine zest for all of life—who never stopped wanting to learn and grow—Jimmy was larger than life.

Jim never ceased to surprise his wife Nancy when revealing more layers of who he was. They never stopped wanting to learn more about each other and built their marriage on a mutual respect and admiration; one that was renewed daily with passionate commitment, consideration, thoughtfulness and love. Jim loved deeply. And when he became a father, he threw himself into that role without hesitation. He and Nancy opened their hearts instantly and fully to his beautiful daughter Frances. They so cherished her walking into their lives. Jim loved his daughter unconditionally and bragged about her at every opportunity. 

Jim had the ability to light up a crowded room and at the same time make each person feel like the most important one in it. Everyone in his life was truly important to him. James Grote never met a stranger. He had the deepest sense of gratitude in the depths of his soul and wasn’t too proud to speak of it in his everyday life. He is deeply missed by many. 

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held for family and friends on Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at Crestwood Funeral Home, 445 West 43rd Street, New York City. Those who are unable to attend may access the tribute live online via Zoom by visiting and clicking on

Memorial donations in memory of James Grote may be made to The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation at

Funeral Services

Memorial Service

December 3, 2022

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Crestwood Funeral Home and Cremation Services

445 W. 43rd Street

New York, NY 10036

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