Jim Damiano, a brilliant bass, was born in Utica, New York. His full name is Vincent Rocco Damiano, Jr. His parents’ first language was Italian, as his grandparents were born in Southern Italy and immigrated from 1898 to 1921.
“When my dad started Kindergarten, he did not know any English,” Jim said. “When asked about his name by the teacher who spoke Italian, he replied ‘Enzeh,’ or the nickname for Vincenzo. I guess it sounded like James to the teacher, and as a kid, I was stuck with it. My dad told his parents that his English name was James.”
As a child, Jim’s mom brought him to the local library and he has been hooked on reading ever since.
Jim met his now bride of 52 years, Betty Rockwell Damiano, at a college hangout in Rochester, New York in 1964 as “love at first sight.” Jim described his wife as “the truest person he had ever met and his best friend.”
Jim and Betty have three children, Rebecca, James and Cheryl and four grandchildren, Justin, Taylor, Savannah and Brooklyn.
He also loves writing, and has gotten two novels published, the first in 2005 and the second in 2008. Jim has also “dabbled” in music, having written a song for his daughter, Rebecca’s, wedding in 1996 for her to sing to her groom, Chris Gebhardt.
“It was easy to write this song for my daughter as I was thinking of my bride, Betty, and words and music just flowed,” Jim said.
Jim’s favorite form of writing is poetry. He wrote several poems for the Chancel Choir’s Christmas service a couple of years ago. He said he “writes poetry to express times of his life that have been troubling and is a good way to capture what he is feeling.”
In addition to reading and writing, Jim’s newest venture is gardening. He said they have acreage and have planted a pecan orchard of about 200 trees and 40 varied fruit trees.
“I just love to watch God’s work as He shows His creation for me to enjoy in this form of hobby I call a labor of love,” Jim said.
Jim also enjoys traveling, his favorite place being Colonial Williamsburg. Jim and Betty first joined Custer Road UMC in 1995 through 2002 when they moved to McKinney and returned in 2014. Jim and Betty have been members of the Chancel Choir for 10+ years and views it as a “large part” of his life.
Jim also reflects on what Lent meant to his family when he was growing up in a Catholic household.
“As a kid, it was a necessity to focus on why Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for us, and that was something that was pushed by family, church and my Catholic schooling,” Jim said. “I rebelled some until I saw the light of my true feelings about Lent that one must do what one feels is best. I felt to live as Jesus would want me to live would be the best option.”