James Nicholas Karas, born July 24, 1920, passed away peacefully from natural causes on August 28, 2010. He was 90 years of age. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Karas moved with his family to Montclair where he, along with his five brothers and sisters, helped his father, Nicholas, operate the "Post Office Luncheonette" on Bloomfield Avenue. Later, with his beloved wife, Frances, to whom he was married for 35 years until her death in 1980, he raised his own family in Montclair - first on Chestnut Street and lastly on Watchung Avenue. In his final years, he lived nearby in Cedar Grove. Mr. Karas was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service in the United States Army during World War II. For forty-four years, he worked for the Montclair Police Department, rising from the rank of patrolman to Captain of the Identification Bureau. As a patrolman, Mr. Karas sacrificed a limb in the line of duty but never lost his humanity or his keen sense of fairness. To all who knew him around town as "Captain Karas," or simply as "Captain," he combined his professional responsibilities with a (sometimes corny) sense of humor, facing life's many challenges and people gone astray with compassion for others no matter what their background or status in society. Mr. Karas leaves behind a family, friends and neighbors who will always cherish the many happy memories and laughter he left with them. He is survived by his sister, Lou Edlund, of Florida; his children, James Jr. of Montclair and Kathryn of Wayne, N.J.; their spouses, Catherine and Alan; his beloved grandchildren, Kristyn, James and Devin; and his many nieces, nephews and other relatives who, no matter what their actual relationship, always referred to him affectionately as "Uncle Jimmy." To the end, James Karas touched many others' lives and made countless others laugh no matter what personal difficulties he -or they - were experiencing. We will remember his gentle teasing, the glint in his eye and yes, his corny jokes. But most of all, when we hear the song he famously whistled or hummed or sang, we will think of him. And smile
"When Whippoorwills call, and evening is nigh, we'll hurry to My Blue Heaven. A turn to the right, a little white light, will lead you to My Blue Heaven..."
Friends and family are invited to say "good-bye" on August 31, 2010 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 at the Hugh M. Moriarty Funeral Home, 76 Park Street, Montclair. Funeral services will be held at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 818 Valley Road, Clifton, at 11: 00 a.m. on September 1, 2010. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. George Greek Orthodox Church, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation (406 West 34th Street, Suite 514, Kansas City, MO, 64111) or the Wounded Warrior Project (PO Box 758517, Topeka KS, 66675-8517).
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