James A “Jim” Soukup

James A. “Jim” Soukup – 68 -of 8521 Canfield Rd, Cohocton, (Haskinville — Town of Fremont) died Friday afternoon (February 21,2020) at his home after a long illness.

Born in Cleveland, OH on April 12, 1951, son of William A. Soukup & Prudence (Anderson) Soukup.

Jim grew up in Chesterland, Geauga County and graduated from West Geauga High School (class of 1969) and later attended Cooper School of Art. While growing up Jim became known as “Jungle Jim” both for sketching reptiles and bringing so many home, such as snakes, lizards, spiders, exotic reptiles, electric eels and an array of other animals.

Jim moved to New York in 1978, married and started a family.  He was employed as a delivery driver and one of the last “Milkman” for former Elmhurst Dairy and then a driver for Wise Potato Chips.

Passionate about raising children and buying/selling antiques, Jim was one of the best known antique dealers in the area and could teach customers the value of anything vintage. He taught his kids how to safely catch snakes and much to their delight, proudly carried them back to show their mother, who was not a fan of snakes.

Jim spent countless hours on the road at shows, antique shops, and garage sales. When his family went to a garage sale and brought back a pony, he just shook his head! We will miss our walking encyclopedia and the questions asked by all.

He was married on October 17, 1979 to the former Mary Wornoff who survives. Also surviving are two daughters, Tiffany (Christopher) Soukup-Brader and Laura (Paul) Shephard of Hornell; two brothers William (Josephine) Soukup of Bedford, OH, Gary Soukup of Ashtabula, OH; 1 sister Joyce (Gary) Garbas of Columbus OH; 1 granddaughter, Brooklyn Shephard; several nieces & nephews.

The family of James “Jim” Soukup will receive friends on Saturday (March 21, 2020) from 3:00 PM  until 5:00 PM at Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church St., Hornell NY.  A Memorial Service will be held at the conclusion of calling hours at 5:00 PM with John and Pat Guthrie from River of Grace Ministries officiating.  Please wear plaid or flannel if you can as Jim always did.

Due to the recent health concerns regarding the Coronavirus, please refrain from physical contact such as shaking hands, hugging and/or kissing while paying your respects at the Dagon Funeral Home. 

For those choosing not to attend, the Memorial Service will be steamed via Facebook Live and can be viewed on the Dagon Funeral Home Facebook page on Saturday at 5:00 PM by visiting www.facebook.com/dagonfuneralhome.  The video will remain available for viewing on our Facebook page for 30 days.

Jim’s family request in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made either to the family or Hornell Concern for Youth, 76 East Main St., Hornell , NY 14843 or a charity of the donor’s choice.  Memorial forms will be available at the Dagon Funeral Home.

5 Responses to “James A “Jim” Soukup”

  1. mary soukup says:

    Happy Thoughts for Uncle Jim by Barnabas Wornoff on 2/24/20
    Hi guys, Hard to hear, but I hope that Jim’s passing will bring you all a sense of peace.
    I’ve always had fond memories of Uncle Jim. I remember seeing a bunch of drawings he did at one point for a flyer for my parents toys and the drawings were really good. We talked art back when I was at Sheridan and he gave me some great tips.
    I remember when I was young and he came to help at our new house in Keene and he missed stepping on a beam in the ceiling of the kitchen and went right through. Instead of grabbing a ladder to help my folks
    grabbed a camera and caught the moment….We’ll have to dig that up next time we are home.
    I’m sure it’s not been easy losing your father, I can’t imagine that really but I hope you all know we love you very much and we are here for you for what ever you need. You are all in our hearts.
    In closing here’s 3 turtle stories Uncle Jim wrote me about 4 years ago.
    I caught a 35 pound snapping turtle and put him in the tub, my roomie was not happy. 45 years ago I gave a red foot tortoise to a friend for a wedding present, she still has him and he’s still alive. I had a three
    legged painted turtle with the bones still sticking out of missing back leg, her name was PegLeg Penelopee. (there’s 3 turtle stories)

  2. Tiffany says:

    Seeing your own dad’s obituary is an emotional jolt. From his two daughters perspective, here are some more words, stories and memories that didn’t make the final cut to the printed obituary:

    Jim grew up in the Cleveland – Chesterland area and was a graduate of Geauga High School (class of 1969). He later attended Cooper School of Art. He used his art skills to draw beautiful pictures of horses and animals on his daughters’ brown paper school lunch bags every day for years. During his time in Cleveland, he worked stage crew for some concerts and made, most likely, some very questionable decisions.

    In his younger years, Jim was a driver for the former Elmhurst Dairy and was one of the very last “Milkmen” in the area. He could tell you story after story of times he almost crashed that bad boy down hills in inclement weather or all the bad drivers he encountered. As such, his girls can go on for a solid 23 minutes nonstop of all the safety tips one should think of when driving. He used his time wisely and started verbalizing the importance of solid driving skills, nearly everyday, while the girls were buckled in the back seat of the car getting driven to school, despite only being in 2nd and 4th grades onwards. He also served as a deliveryman for Wise Potato Chip Company. But his real passions were odd animals, his daughters and antiques. For most of his adult life, Jim made a living as an antique dealer, buying and selling collectibles. He attended flea markets, bottle shows, and yard sales for endless miles. He was one of the best known antique dealers in the area, Jim the Bottle Guy, and his knowledge of antiques was unparalleled, a passion he got from his parents. Nonetheless, all his years yard-saling will never compare to the time his wife and kids brought a horse back from their yard-saling day.

    When his girls were younger, he loved taking them snake-hunting so they would not be afraid of them. The daughters recall a time they each carried over a half dozen snakes to proudly show their mother. Upon seeing so many serpents, she screamed and ran away, only expanding the girls’ passion for wildlife even more. He’d pride himself on the “strange” animals he’d bring home as pets for the girls: snakes, snapping turtles, a goose, iguanas, hogs, and fish- sometimes straight from the pond. Yet he fussed about the yard sale horse. As his kids grew, so did their love to antagonize him. Whether screeching at the top of their lungs, booby-trapping his van, or even moving it around in parking lots while he was in the grocery store shopping (a great use of the spare key), you better believe this to be their greatest delight, and his too, so they say.

    So many are so sad to see Jim go. He was a walking encyclopedia, with a memory and brain that remained so sharp right up until his final days. He could still spell really hard words like, arctinurus boltoni, one of his favorite fossils, a trilobite. One of the girls’ biggest misgivings is that they didn’t inherit more of his brain genes, because they really are not that good of spellers, especially Tiffany, and Laura could have gotten more of his navigational skills. What they did recieve was the habit to be mischievous, sarcastic and playful, remain lighthearted, treat others with kindness, do one’s best and know that no matter what their dad loved them and supported them with whatever goals they had in life. For that, he was one of the most successful parents on the planet, and they are eternally grateful.

    Jim was married on October 17, 1979 to the former Mary Wornoff who survives. Also surviving are 2 daughters, Tiffany (Christopher Brader) Soukup of Cohocton and Laura (Paul) Shephard of Hornell; 2 brothers, Gary Soukup of Ashtabula, OH and William (Josephine) Soukup of Bedford, OH; 1 sister, Yvonne (Bob) Advair of Columbus, OH; 1 granddaughter, Brooklyn Shephard; several nieces & nephews.

    Jim’s family request that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name be made to the Hornell Concern for Youth, 76 East Main St., Hornell, NY 14843 or to Mary Soukup, 8521 County Rd 55, Cohocton NY 14846, who now has to pay for this really long obituary. Memorial forms will be available at the Dagon Funeral Home.

  3. Jim Hacha aka Shortie says:

    Jim and I are the same age and it is difficult to realize that he is gone. Actually, I was 4 days older than him. We attended junior high and high school together at West Geauga. In 9th grade Jim was the person to give me my nickname of Shortie that has been with me till this day. Jim was a bit of a prankster in junior high school, and my guidance counselor told my mom that Jim was a bad influence on me. But he was an awesome artist and at that time was planning to attend Cooper School of Art when he graduated. he was always getting in trouble for drawing caricatures of teachers and students.

    In my senior year I moved to another school and we lost contact for several years. However, we met up again when we were both volunteering for a free clinic called Head Help. He and another mutual friend and I shared a house in Chesterland, Ohio and life was never a dull moment. He designated a room for his critters and so began the collection of boa constrictors, pythons, tortoises, geckos, and who knows what else. In the spring we would have a gopher tortoise round-up in the front yard. His dozen or so tortoises were set free for a while, and it was our job to keep them contained. That was fun.

    Jim took a trip to Canada and put me in charge to care for his collection. I was told to provide food and water for the tortoises, geckos, and whatever else, but I didn’t have to worry about the snakes because he fed them before he left. All was well until the 5ft. python escaped his aquarium. Every time I went into the room he would rise up a little bit and wiggle that little snake tongue at me. I attempted to grab him once, and put him back, but he coiled up and I thought, You’re good, and left him alone. I just made sure he didn’t try to molest any of the other critters. When Jim came home he was a little more than annoyed while putting the python back in his home and said, “Damn it Shortie, its not like he was going to wrap his body around your 6 foot, 6 inch frame and eat you.”

    I was also the one that freaked when I found the snapper, big as a dog house, in the bath tub. The snapper had to go. Jim and I spent our Saturday mornings drinking quarts of beer and playing war with a double deck of cards. I will remember his infectious laugh, him playing spoons and me on the jaw harp, just enjoying life at that time. During this time I married my wife Barbara, and Jim was an usher in the wedding. He gave us several hermit crabs as a wedding gift.

    I could go on and on, but I am glad that Barbara and I reconnected with him in Cohocton for the last several years, and we made an annual camping trip to Letchworth, N.Y. to see him and Mary. I know he led a colorful life here as well with Mary, Laura, and Tiff. Good bye my friend.

  4. Alan Deacon says:

    I’m sorry I’m not able to make it Tiffany and Chris. I really enjoyed reading your eulogy Tiff. Your poor mother probably thought Medusa was coming when you approached her with the snakes. You two inspire me, keep sharing his legacy, just by being you.

    We Love you guys,

    Alan, Karla and Alex

  5. Bill Soukup says:

    I have many happy and funny stories about Jim. First, everyone knows Jim had a love of animals, especially reptiles. One memory is after I came home from the service, I was back sharing a bedroom with Jim. One morning as I got out of bed, and went to put my feet on the floor, I realized I had put my foot on the back of a tortoise. It was just ambling by. If that wasn’t bad enough, I went to the window to see what kind of day it was, pulled the drape back and there was a large Iguana hanging on the drape sunning itself.

    Jim collected all kinds of reptiles. He had an African bull frog which he fed mice. Once Jim gathered so many snakes and put them all in one cage, you couldn’t count them. They were all twisted together – had to be about 30 of them.

    He always had a frog pond. Once he yelled “get a bucket, I got a turtle.” I ran and got a regular car wash bucket and ran back. He was holding a huge snapping turtle by its tail. Was way too big for the bucket, only its head fit in.

    Another time we saw him coming down the road carrying a cat. When he got to the breezeway, he set it down and called out “Mom, look what followed me home.”

    Lately we would talk on the phone pretty regularly and he’d give me advice on an antique I had found or just share a story. There are so many stories and adventures, and not just reptile ones, that I remember about Jim. One thing is for sure, I will miss him.