James P. Cisternelli, age 88, passed away on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in the South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center, Florida, following a brief illness. Born in Walpole, Massachusetts on September 6, 1932, he was the son of the late Peter and Julia (Troiano) Cisternelli. He was raised in Walpole, where he attended Walpole High School, demonstrating his athleticism in the hockey arena and (on) the baseball diamond. Following his graduation in 1950, Jim took his athletic skill set to Boston College, participating in both the College Hockey’s Frozen Four and the College World Series. His love for sports did not end with school athletics, as he loved spending his summers traveling the country, playing baseball. Upon his graduation from BC, Jim enlisted in the United States Army, proudly serving his country during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged two years later in 1956, after earning the rank of Private First Class.
As Jim returned home to Walpole from the Army, he joined his brother, Al’s, company, Cisternelli & Sons Oil and Asphalt. After establishing his career, it was time for Jim to establish his family. He met his wife, Mary, by chance one sunny afternoon in Bird Park in East Walpole. They were married on October 12, 1957 in Norwood, Massachusetts. Together they made their home in Walpole, where they welcomed their three daughters, Carla, Laura, and Gina. Jim continued working hard for Cisternelli & Sons and later took on a second career renovating homes for himself and others. While Jim worked incredibly hard, he always made time for his true passion, ice hockey. He was at home in any hockey arena, as a player or a coach, and spent countless hours mentoring others both on and off the ice.
In his retirement, Jim made his home with Mary in Plymouth, where he turned to gardening. He quickly became “Jimmy the Dahlia Man” to his community in Kingsbridge Shores in Plymouth as his dahlias were perfectly cared for. More recently, Jim looked forward to spending the winter months in Tampa, Florida with his wife and their daughter, Laura. He looked forward to escaping the cold and snow of New England to enjoy the warm weather in Florida, where he could lounge by the pool. Jim also enjoyed watching the local wildlife in Tampa, especially the birds and the gators.
Most of all, Jim loved spending time with his family, both in Walpole and Harwichport. He and Mary shared 63 loving years of marriage and he was so proud of his three daughters. Jim was truly delighted as his family continued to grow, welcoming his grandchildren, who affectionately knew him as “Bubba.” His love for family continued beyond his wife, daughters, and grandchildren, as he was adopted by Laura’s two cats, Harry and Betty.
Beloved husband of 63 years to Mary (Laverick) Cisternelli.
Loving father of Carla Sullivan and her husband, Kevin, of Foxborough, Laura Hepburn and her late husband, Skip, of Tampa, Florida, and Gina Basler of Tampa, Florida.
Cherished grandfather of Allan Hepburn, Derek Basler, Samantha Basler, Michael Cappola, and the late Keith Hepburn.
Brother of Al Cisternelli of Plainville, Betty Sundquist of Norfolk, Fran Mahoney of Mansfield, Irene Consentino of Taunton, Ed Cisternelli of Walpole, Lee Ann McCusker of Rehoboth and the late Dottie Cashen.
Also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins, all whom he adored.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend Jim’s Life Celebration on Thursday, July 29, 2021 from 4 to 7 PM in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Saint Mary’s Church, 176 Washington Street, East Walpole on Friday, July 30, 2021 at 10:30 AM, followed by a luncheon at The Lafayette House in Foxborough. Interment will be private.